Friday, September 25, 2009


Let me introduce myself. I am Viktors Berstis and will be representing World Community Grid. This is IBM's philanthropic volunteer grid for non-profit projects which benefit humanity and the world. I am the technical lead for World Community Grid and also interface with the scientists running various research projects on the grid.

I'll be posting about what is going on behind the scenes in World Community Grid and putting my personal two cents in on other subjects from time to time. I'm also interested in figuring out ways to make scientists more aware of the powerful resources available to them via a grid like World Community Grid. One of the recurring themes is that scientists instinctively optimize and constrain the size and scope of their research projects to what is doable with the resources they have. In almost all cases, working with World Community Grid has opened scientist's eyes to qualitatively better possibilities for their research that they didn't even dream of prior to working with us. As I said, they have trained themselves to think small to the point they don't even realize they are doing this. Who would think they could have 5 years or more equivalent years of access to one of the world's largest conventional supercomputers, 24/7, dedicated only to their research project. Most organizations which own a large supercomputer must share its resources among many users, and hence the users are always thinking about how to shoehorn their project into their time slot instead of thinking about what they might be able to do with a seemingly ridiculous amount of compute power.

You can probably tell the above is one of my hot buttons, but I have other subjects on my mind too, including energy consumption, how to increase the number of volunteers, how to find research projects, what kinds of computing works well with the grid and so forth. I'll be explaining more about what World Community Grid is, how it works, etc. I hope this will all be of interest to the readers.

No comments: