Web search engine company Google is testing the possibility of enabling its toolbar software to be a means by which visitors can make their PCs part of a supercomputer to tackle knotty scientific problems.
More than 500 people have been invited to try out a new version of the toolbar that lets Windows users donate their computer's downtime to Stanford University's [email protected] project, which is looking at how genetic information is converted into proteins.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that the main idea was to use Google's expertise with large computer systems and try to give something back to science.
He explained that an option on the toolbar lets the participants download the necessary software to their computer.
The plan will be to expand the research to other projects, and possibly computational problems, to benefit its search business, said Brin.
Google's project is another example of distributed computing, in which jobs are farmed out in small chunks to ordinary PCs across the internet.
The new toolbar overcomes one of distributed computing's major weaknesses which is physically getting the software to those wanting to be involved.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago