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

 

Commerce Commission: Latest Broadband Report Confirms Improved Performance Of Premium Fibre Plans

The latest report from the Commerce Commission’s Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme shows that the performance of Fibre Max plans has improved substantially. This follows a collaboration between the Commission, its independent testing partner, ... More>>

Air New Zealand: Capital Raise Deferred

Air New Zealand has decided to defer its planned capital raise to later in 2021 allowing more time to assess the impacts of recent developments on the airline’s path to recovery. 'We’ve seen some clearing of COVID-19 clouds recently, with ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Cartel Conduct Now Punishable By Up To 7 Years’ Jail Time

Cartel conduct can now be punished with a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years, after the Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Act 2019 came into effect today. Cartel conduct includes price fixing, market allocation and bid rigging (see ... More>>

Stats NZ: Auckland Population May Hit 2 Million In Early 2030s

Auckland’s population may rise from about 1.7 million currently to 2 million by early next decade, Stats NZ said today. “Auckland will likely have the highest average annual growth of New Zealand’s 16 regions over the next 30 years, from ... More>>


Stats NZ: March Card Spending Rebounds Despite COVID

There was a lift in retail card spending in March following a fall in the lockdown-disrupted February month, Stats NZ said today. Seasonally adjusted retail card spending rose by $53 million (0.9 percent), compared with February 2021. Visit our website to read ... More>>

PwC: Outcome Of Review Into Air New Zealand Gas Turbines Business

Air New Zealand has received the report into its Gas Turbines business from independent external advisers PwC. Air New Zealand Chairman Dame Therese Walsh says the report identified a range of effective controls in the Gas Turbines revenue contracting ... More>>

LPG Association: Renewable LPG Achieves Emissions Budgets With No Need To Ban New LPG Connections

Renewable LPG can supply New Zealand’s LPG needs and achieve the emissions reductions proposed by the Climate Commission without the need to ban new connections, a new study shows. The investigation, by leading consultancy Worley, was prepared for the ... More>>