Distributed computing –lots of small machines emulating one gosh-darned big one — is a thing. Used to be that pretty much the only thing happening was SETI At Home, where you could be part of a project looking for extraterrestrial intelligence by donating your computer’s idle time. It came with a screen saver.
Nowadays, there’s lots of big science happening using public access computing. For example, World Community Grid.
What am I doing on World Community Grid? Right now …
Help Stop TB
FightAIDS@Home – Phase 2
Outsmart Ebola Together
Mapping Cancer Markers[
Say No to Schistosoma
Drug Search for Leishmaniasis
Human Proteome Folding – Phase 2
The Clean Energy Project – Phase 2
All good, worthwhile things. (The search for an anti-Zika drug was just added to the mix.)