It’s relatively easy to start volunteering your PC to projects. Find an interesting project, download the software and install it, and then let the computer while away its idle time crunching numbers.
The software is available for all major operating platforms, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
These applications can run in the background while you use your computer or they can make good use of your machine's idle time. Many projects operate in a “screensaver mode”, so the computer, when doing its volunteer work, displays relevant and hopefully entertaining graphics.
After installing a free program such as BOINC on your computer, you can connect it to as many of these projects as you like. You can also choose to contribute using one or more computers.
Competing for virtual credit
All volunteers get a so called ‘credit’ - virtual units which correspond to how much computational time you have donated to various distributed computing projects. The client software keeps track of how much work your computer has done. Credit can be used for user vs. user competitions and also competitions between teams of users.
If you would like to find out more about volunteer computing, help is at hand in our new 3D virtual world at e-ScienceCity. The e-ScienceCity island is dedicated to e-science and e-learning. You are warmly invited to explore our new island - entrance is free and transport should be trouble-free!