…but it probably won’t because of outdated and ageing IT Management. However, if they thought about what they could do for a moment and decided to do some good in the world, they could have every spare computer running a distributed application which, when your computer is idle, begins calculating algorithms to show if a prospective drug design could combat the AIDS virus. Once it’s completed some calculations it sends the answers back, downloads some new data, and starts off again.
It’s not just analysing drugs to combat AIDS either, they could be calculating how the proteins in the human genes operate allowing scientists to create cures for diseases much easier; calculating cures for Alzheimers, Cancer, Huntington’s, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Parkinson’s, Anthrax, Smallpox, Ebola, SARS, Malaria; searching for extra terrestrial signals; mass, long term, climate prediction; model evolution to understand the genetic causes of extinction on endangered species; search for Einstein’s predicted gravitational waves as part of his General Theory of Relativity, or even just help out lower budget movies who need computer graphics rendered. To be honest, the list is amazingly vast.
So how could companies help?
Well it’s easy. Larger corporations have distributed networks and control the employees PC centrally, that means they send out new software over the network, usually overnight. To do this they need the PC’s left on all night. Left on, and doing nothing. It’s a huge waste of energy and that computer power.
So why not pick one of these projects and install the application on each of those PC’s round the organisation? Imagine what hundreds, or thousands of PC’s could do to one of these projects. Imagine all those PC’s running all night, computing all that data.
Don’t be mistaken either, there are many companies like this that just let their PC’s sit all night doing nothing. Why can’t they do some good with it? Imagine if one of these companies found the cure for Cancer or for AIDS. How huge would that be for them, how much publicity, how much just sheer goodness would it be? How much effort would it actually take to do?
Well having worked in the core technical teams that have created such systems, not that much. Even if the general client offered with these projects was slightly altered to run between certain hours, and upload\download information at differing times throughout that period, it wouldn’t take that much effort or cost. Thoroughly test it, Pilot it, and then roll it out.
I don’t see the negative side, apart from forcing some outdated IT Managers off their institutionalised arses and set their staff to do something positive. Therein lies the problem. The Managers, the people in control, couldn’t see the benefit in that because there wouldn’t be a hard cash figure sitting on a spreadsheet somewhere, just a negative. Why would they, or their organisation, care about curing such a disease when there’s profit to be made?