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Google is the poo.

Google Compute Ok. So some of you may already know about this, but it’s pretty new to me. The other day a weird new symbol appeared on my Google toolbar (you know, the one you can install into your browser). Apparently, Google is participating in a process called ‘distributed computing.’ Distributed computing allows giant computational projects to be broken down into small work units which are then parceled out to individual computer processors. The individual computer works on its specific project and then submits its results back to the network to be integrated into the larger project. In this way, the time required to solve gigantic computational problems (like looking for extra-terrestrial radio signals or computing prime numbers with digits out past ten million) is significantly shortened.

So, since Google is essentially a huge network of connected computers already, they figure that putting your unused processor time to work (with your permission, of course) is a good idea. They’re absolutely right. The first project is Folding@Home. This is a Stanford project and the goal is to model the fundamental structure of proteins – learning about how proteins fold into specific shapes. The information gained from this project could be used to develop new treatments for Alzheimer’s, AIDS, etc. Eventually Google hopes to expand the list of available distributed computing projects.

Yet another reason why Google is the poo.

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