The name "Free Donne" is a French/English pun: it sounds like the English word "freedom," and "donne" means "to give" in French.
The idea is to donate your computer's spare power for scientific and medical research. While you're reading this page, browsing the Web, on Facebook and so on, these tasks only consume a very small percentage of your PC's available computing power – or "processor time." The rest goes unused.
This valuable spare processor time can be used to crunch numbers for scientific research. The data can be small images for example, and your computer may need a few hours to complete its task before it can generate some results and send them back. The time spent in computation does not need to be contiguous – it can be a few hours every day, when your computer is turned on. It won't make the machine slower, since work will immediately stop if you start using the processor above a certain threshold that you define.
The research projects your computer can work on are:
Here is an example: suppose you need 10 hours to compute a simulated experiment (let's say the effect of a given drug on a tumor cell); if you have 20 millions drugs to test, it'll take about 21,831 years to test them all. If you use 100,000 computers, you can complete the task in 3 months.
This is the case with the Help Fight Childhood Cancer effort: 8,000 drugs need to be tested in 9 million experiments, this will take about two years to complete, but we believe it's worth it.
To this end, we have created a team named Free Donne, on one of the serious big computer grids – the World Community Grid (see also : Wikipedia article).
When a lot of computers in different places are "connected" together to create a virtual multi-processor large-scale computer, it's called a computer grid. (If they're all located at the same place, it's called a cluster.) Grids can use public computers (e.g. your PC) or private ones – for example, by interconnecting international supercomputer centers together. Computer grids are quite flexible and able to process one task or many different tasks at the same time.
The processing time is large compared to the time needed to transfer the data over the Internet – e.g. one second of data transfer for a few hours of computer time.
Our goal is to get people from all over the world to donate a little bit of their unused computer processor time, computing power that would be otherwise be wasted. All you need to do is to install a program called a BOINC client (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing), which works like a screensaver: when your computer is idle, it'll download a few files and start processing them. BOINC is a non-intrusive program, it won't touch any existing file on your machine, nor will it allow access to your computer from the Internet. You fully control its behavior.
The program will download small files (PNG images), about five to 25 KBytes each, and then start to process them. The shortest job will take about an hour and a half, the longest about seven or eight hours, depending on the project. When enough files have been processed, the client (your computer) will connect to the World Community Grid servers, send back the results and fetch more work. Typically it uses about 10 MB of disk space, which is a very small amount. There are no incoming connections.
You need to :
These three steps can be done in one shot by following this link.
The project name (which you must choose when the program launches) is World Community Grid.
BOINC runs on Windows, MacOS X and Linux, on 32- or 64-bit PC architectures and PowerPC Macintoshes. You do not need a fast computer to join. It's good either if your Mac Mini is on for a few hours a day or your super-fast overclocked gaming PC stays idle only one hour a day (because you need to eat at some point ;-) ).
Is it secure?
Yes, it is. The servers which distribute the work are located in a very secure place at IBM. All communications are encrypted and use the usual channels for traffic going to and from the Web (technically, HTTP on port 80 and HTTPS on port 443). The client is not a virus, and you have total control over it. Your computer will NEVER be contacted from the outside – it's the client which will request more work when needed and send back the results.
Read the WCG privacy to learn more.
Visit the team's page on the World Community Grid, or the BOINC stats site. You can also look at the graph on our statistics page. We really need you keep computing at a raising or at least a steady rate.
Challenges? We have many! To have more than 50 members, to get more than 100 results per day, to have a large company sponsoring us and so on.
We also hope to buy a new dedicated computer – see some specs here.
If you're a company, a sole trader, a shop or anything, you can donate computer time or hardware. You will be cited on our sponsors' site – http://sponsors.freedonne.org – and you can ask for an email address and a free web page under <yourname>.freedonne.org.
To advertise the project, please send this link to your friends :
and tell your friends to select the World Community Grid project.