Recently news came out that the distributed-computing search for extraterrestrial life [email protected] project was coming to an end after 21 years. But if you like participating in distributed-computing, you can now use your computer to fight the coronavirus/COVID-19.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert. You just download and install the client program, and then the program does the rest.
[email protected] is a distributed computing project focused on disease research. Volunteers donate their computers processing power to the project — when not in use — to do useful tasks such as search viruses for potential drug targets. This is work that needs huge amounts of computer power. But rather than rely on a single supercomputer, [email protected] breaks down the tasks and sends them to computers running the [email protected] client. The client then waits for the computer to be idle, and goes to work on processing the data it has been sent.
The data processed by [email protected] is, according to the project. “openly disseminated as part of an open science collaboration of multiple laboratories around the world, giving researchers new tools that may unlock new opportunities for developing life-saving drugs.”
[email protected] has clients for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It will keep a computer that would otherwise be idle working, but the workloads are manageable and I’ve not come across a problem where systems have experienced overheating or any other kind of degradation as a result of running it.