Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Log onto Facebook, contribute to scientific research

9 February 2012

Log onto Facebook, contribute to scientific research

Logging on to Facebook could soon be a way of contributing to important scientific research, as well as finding out what’s going on in your world.

Researchers at Victoria University are developing a Facebook application that, once downloaded, enables people to donate the resources of their computer to scientific projects.

Known as cloud computing, this method is increasingly used for scientific research because individual computers or even small clusters cannot cope with the complex computation and large scale storage of data required.

Dr Kris Bubendorfer from Victoria’s School of Engineering and Computer Science has been collaborating with researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany and Cardiff University in Wales on how information, hardware and services can be shared using the computing resources of a person’s online network friends.

One of the best known examples of volunteer cloud computing is SETI@Home which was started in 1999 to analyse radio signals from space in the hope of detecting signs of intelligent life.

Dr Bubendorfer says integrating cloud architecture with a social network like Facebook has advantages over existing options, such as commercial clouds which some research teams use on a pay-as-you-go basis.

“Using commercial clouds can be very expensive and it’s difficult for researchers to get funding to access public cloud time.

“While volunteer computing works well, it doesn’t have the means to publicise projects so the numbers currently participating are limited. Facebook, on the other hand, has 500 million active users and places to profile new projects.

“If we can recruit even one per cent of current Facebook users to become volunteers, that will have a significant impact on resources available for research.”

Dr Bubendorfer’s collaborators in Germany are developing rewards and incentives that will encourage Facebook users to sign on for volunteer computing while the team in Cardiff is working on business models to support the initiative.

At Victoria, Master’s students have been investigating how the volunteer computing model can be adapted for Facebook and an application is expected to be ready for release at the end of this year.

Another Victoria student under Dr Bubendorfer’s supervision is working on a different strand of the research—how scientists can use social networks to team up and form virtual research environments.

“Social networks offer an easy and quick way for scientists to find each other and agree to share resources for the duration of a project.”

Dr Bubendorfer says while it’s early days, he is excited by what a social cloud can offer.

“One of the things that made the world wide web so popular is the way users can engage with it and this is a bit the same. You’re not just buying something, you are opting in to a process that is interactive and controlled by users.

“To an extent, this is democratisation of the cloud.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Alex Swney Pleads Guilty To $2.5M Fraud Charge

Alex Swney, former chief executive of the Auckland city centre business association Heart of the City, has pleaded guilty to dishonestly using documents to obtain $2.5 million. More>>

ALSO:

Petrol Burns Prices: Second Consecutive Quarterly Fall For CPI

The consumers price index (CPI) fell 0.3 percent in the March 2015 quarter, following a 0.2 percent fall in the December 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The last time the CPI showed two consecutive quarterly falls was in the December 1998 and March 1999 quarters. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Broadcasters Launch Battle Against Global Mode ISPs

New Zealand broadcasters have confirmed they’ve launched legal proceedings against internet service providers who give customers’ access to “global mode”, which allows customers access to offshore online content, claiming it breaches the local content providers’ copyright. More>>

ALSO:

Sanford: Closure Of Christchurch Mussel Processing Plant Confirmed

The decision comes after a period of consultation with the 232 staff employed at the Riccarton site, who were told on 9 April that Sanford was considering the future of mussel processing in Christchurch. Recent weather patterns had impacted on natural spat (offspring) supply... More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese: Dairy Product Prices Fall To The Lowest This Year

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, hitting the lowest level in the 2015 auctions so far, as prices for milk powder and butter slid amid concern about the outlook for commodities. More>>

ALSO:

Houston, We Have An Air Route: Air New Zealand To Fly Direct To The Heart Of Texas

Air New Zealand will fly its completely refitted Boeing 777-200 aircraft between Auckland and Houston up to five times a week opening up the state of Texas as well as popular nearby tourist states such as Louisiana and Florida. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Reserve Bank’s Spencer Calls On Govt To Rethink Housing Tax

The Reserve Bank has urged the government to take another look at a capital gains tax on investment in housing, allow increased high-density development and cut red tape for planning consents to address an over-heated Auckland property market. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news