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

 

Kiwifruit: Zespri Ordered To Consider Collaborative Marketing Proposals

The High Court has told kiwifruit marketer Zespri to reconsider collaborative marketing proposals from Splice Fruit and Seeka Kiwifruit to sell fruit offshore that its board had previously rejected. More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Budget: Computer Emergency Response Team, Assemble!

John Key told the country's first ever Cyber Security Summit in Auckland that the government had earmarked funding set up a national Computer Emergency Response Team to help prevent and act on cyber incidents in partnership with the private sector and other organisations. More>>

ALSO:

Job Cutter Goes: Mark Weldon To Step Down As MediaWorks CEO

“When I joined MediaWorks in August 2014, I had a mandate to lead a significant change programme to bring the business back from receivership into a position where it could once again be a strong competitor in the market, with a sound and sustainable future. It was a big brief, laden with inherent challenges, but I took it in good faith and have dedicated myself fully to the goal since." More>>

ALSO:

Must Sell 20 Petrol Stations: Z Cleared To Buy Caltex Assets

Z Energy is allowed to buy the Caltex and Challenge! petrol station chains but must sell 19 of its retail sites and one truck-stop, the Commerce Commission has ruled in a split decision that acknowledges possible retail price coordination between fuel retailers occurs in some regions. More>>

ALSO:

Huntly: Genesis Extends Life Of Coal-Fuelled Power Station To 2022

Genesis Energy will keep its two coal and gas-fired units at Huntly Power Station operating until 2022, having previously said they'd be closed by 2018, after wringing a high price from other electricity generators who wanted to keep them as back-up. More>>

ALSO:

Dammed If You Do: Ruataniwha Irrigation Scheme Hits Farmer Uptake Targets

Enough Hawke's Bay farmers have signed up for water from the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme for it to go ahead as long as a cornerstone institutional capital investor can be found to back it, its regional council promoter announced. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news