Distributed computing projects are nothing new, but so far none have leveraged the ubiquity of the modern smartphone. During their press conference at MWC this morning, HTC announced the ‘Power to Give’ programme, which will initially target unused CPU cycles on the latest HTC phones, but will eventually expand to all Android devices.
Distributed computing projects involve breaking large calculations or analytical processes down into small pieces, which are each performed on separate devices, reducing the need to rely on expensive supercomputers. Participants will download some software to their computer, which when not in active use, starts crunching away at these calculations. Developed in partnership with the University of California in Berkeley, Power to Change is an application available on the Play Store, which will run when your phone is idle, charging and connected to WiFi. You can see how it works in the video below.
HTC say that just one million HTC Ones will generate one PetaFLOP of computing power – equivalent to one supercomputer – and the power leveraged through Power to Give will greatly reduce the time taken to perform complex calculations necessary for large-scale humanitarian or scientific research projects. The projects available currently are ‘Computing for Clean Water’, ‘Help Fight Cancer’, ‘Say No to Schistosoma’, and ‘Nutritious Rice for the World’.
With an estimated 780 million Android smartphones being sold last year, if even 10% of us join the project, we can really make a difference. Good work, HTC.