Distributed Computing Targets Clean H20

Safe drinking water is one of the world’s most pressing needs, so why not put our collective processing power behind it? Recently, IBM’s World Community Grid, a worldwide network of PC owners dedicated to helping scientists solve humanitarian challenges, announced several computing projects aimed at developing techniques to produce cleaner and safer water, an increasingly scarce commodity for at least 1.2 billion people worldwide.

World Community Grid works with strategic partners on issues with large-scale humanitarian implications, allowing PC-owners to volunteer the processing power of home computers when they’re not otherwise in use. The result is “supercomputer” made up of 1.5 million PCs from 600,000 volunteers around the world, which then performs computations for scientists working to engineer cleaner energy, cure diseases and produce healthier foods.

World Community Grid

image via World Community Grid

One initiative, developed in partnership with the University of Virginia, will simulate how human behaviors and ecosystem processes relate to one another in watersheds such as the Chesapeake Bay; others, developed in partnership with China’s Tsignhua University, will explore advanced water filtering techniques and seek cures for water-borne diseases.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • I was simply curious how one would go about donating web time?