Comcute – a system for providing big computing power in a crisis situation

Comcute is a project developed by researchers from Gdansk University of Technology, that is designed to be a real polish alternative for BOINC – a platform for volunteer computing. The purpose of such systems is to solve complex scientific problems and to provide computing power with low cost. Comcute fulfills those guidelines. However, its main goal in taking advantage of the potential of grid computing is to provide continuous activity of processors in case of crisis like the explosion in Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

How do grid systems work?

The philosophy of those systems is based on sharing computing power by users. Those users, called volunteers, willingly share resources of their machines for certain projects. In usual scenario each person who has access to the Internet can participate in researches at any moment by installing a special software on her computer, for free. Those researches can be about anything – like finding life in the universe (e.g. SETI@HOME) or helping finding a cure for cancer (e.g. FOLDING@HOME) – and it is the user who choose research she wants to participate in. Advantages of this approach are obvious: hundreds of people all around the globe, without leaving their houses and with the minimal amount of labor, can contribute to solving the greatest research problems that has been bothered humankind for ages.

Similar systems have been used for years now and they already managed to bring great results. One of the first projects of this kind was about finding the biggest Mersenne number. The project was successful and the user whose computer found the last element of the puzzle received a great prize money. Was finding the Mersenne numbers useful? Of course! They are used in cryptography – one can even say that the discovery of those numbers contributed to increased security of our data.

Comcute’s Features

You don’t have to install any additional software – Comcute works in any internet browser.

  • Free and anonymous access
  • Participation is safe
  • At any moment, without any consequences, you can resign from being a volunteer
  • You can participate in solving real scientific problems

What do high performance systems like Comcute really allow for?

Comcute brings an unlimited amount of possibilities. In practice, only imagination can limit what one can achieve thanks to our platform. Flood simulation, weather modelling or even simulation of panicked crowd’s activity – those are just examples of problems that are possible to solve using distributed computing. Soon after Comcute was developed an application for simulation of fire spreading in forests was designed. Virtual areas described by many parameters (like speed and direction of the wind, calorific value of subsoil and trees, humidity etc.) are regularly set on fire and the way fire is spreading is studied. Received results can bring huge benefits, e.g. they can help to protect areas threatened by arson from the spread of fire. Research centers, army, companies that depend on reliable calculations and even banks – all of them can benefit from the Comcute platform and with low costs use its potential for their own usage.