Introduction to evolution@home
In Short: Why evolution@home? To help us compute!
Evolution@home is the first global computing system for evolutionary biology. Current progress in this fascinating field often depends on quantitative models that require large amounts of computing power. Evolution@home allows everybody from the general public with an Internet PC to contribute unused CPU-cycles towards solving scientific questions in evolutionary biology. The questions that can be addressed that way are encoded in the Simulators. So all you need to do to get going, is download a simulator. Read on, if you want more practical details.
In Detail: Introduction to evolution@home
Everything in evolution@home centers around simulators. These are computer programs that simulate evolution of a simplified model of biological reality. Each simulator implements a well defined model that is described on the corresponding simulator's webpages. Everyone with an Internet-computer (and a supported operating system) can contribute towards solving the scientific question behind the simulator.
The current system is semi-automated. This means that the simulator can only read the next simulation task from the simulators-folder on your local hard drive and not from a server on the Internet. It also means that you will have to manually submit the results-file generated on your hard drive via email so that we can include it in our semi-automated results-validation and analysis system. Since many individual simulation tasks can be processed in one go, you basically choose the 'service-intervalls' by choosing the complexity of the simulations that you run. For more information, see the explanations for our first public Simulator005.
When will full automation come?
A fully automated mode of global computing means that workers get their tasks automatically from the server and submit results as soon as they have been computed.
This often requested feature has received much thought so far in order to develop a good design for this (we even have tested a several design ideas). Unfortunately, development turned out to be more complex than anticipated, which has lead to a number of delays. This is due to a large number of complicated dependencies that have to be satisfied for smooth long-term operation of such a system. We will not make public predictions, unless to say that we are working on it as good as we can. Much of the slow pace is due to the fact that the key developer for this, Laurence Loewe, currently has to work on other topics in order to pay the rent.
These summary statistics of your contributions are currently generated every few weeks to record your contributions. This cannot be made more often, since this is semi-automated too. It will be come more often, once the fully automated system is up and running.