Your Idle Computer Can Solve Global Water Problems

We're fans of IBM's World Community Grid, a project that uses your idling computer to work on some huge problems, from curing cancer to finding clean energy sources. And now added to that list, is finding solutions for clean water.

Rather than relying on a single supercomputer, the World Community Grid takes advantage of millions of idling computers to run computations. The computations are small pieces of a great big puzzle of a problem. In this way, IBM can solve more pieces of the puzzle faster and come up with solutions in a far shorter time span than could otherwise be possible.

The company has just added to the list of research items a subject that is near and dear to us at Planet Green, especially after just wrapping up Blue August: water. Specifically, IBM is looking to tap the computing power of 1.5 million volunteer PCs to figure out better techniques for producing clean, safe drinking water on three continents.

IBM is working in conjunction with University of Virginia Watershed Sustainability Project -- the group that came up with a game that accurately models the effects of agricultural, commercial and industrial decisions on the Chesapeake Bay. The company is also working with Brazil's Inforium Bioinformatics to find a cure for schistosomiasis, a parasite-based disease that is spread through foul water and infects about 210 million individuals worldwide, causing the death of as many as 200,000 people per year.

"I can think of few endeavors more important than making sure people across the globe have ready access to clean water," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and President of IBM's Foundation. "I would even suggest that it's a basic human right, and a hallmark of sophisticated and compassionate societies everywhere. That's why IBM is so incredibly proud to help scientists harness the resources of World Community Grid to make strides in this vital arena."

By being part of the project and lending access to your computer to World Community Grid, you help reduce the cost of crunching numbers and speed up finding solutions to provide water to people across the globe. All you have to do is register at World Community Grid and install a free secure software program on your computer.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.