March 1, 2006 (Vol. 26, No. 5)
Strong Points: Intriguing project, low impact
Weak Points: Impossible problem?
Distributed computing approaches have been around for years. The best example of this is the SETI at Home project (setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu), which has used the resources of thousands, maybe even millions of home computers to perform background analyses of radio telescope data in an attempt to identify signals from intelligent sources. There are at least a couple of distributed computing relating to molecular biology, including one designed to find a cure for HIV. Blueprint is a project that tackles the biggest theoretical project in biology: predicting protein folding by iteration. This is no small problem, since random iteration to solve the problem would take the fastest computers on earth longer than the age of the universe to solve. A more focused approach is the order of the day. Check it out.