While we call these "new"
distributed computing projects, many have been years in the making. Although
people have ideas, it may take a while to write the code, to acquire fund grants,
and to generate public interest. You may notice as you're reading about the
following projects that there is a shift from the older, previous projects that
didn't seem to have much real-world relevance, and those that are getting ready
to launch today. Helping to render an animated movie could produce an extraordinary
3-D film, while helping to predict the weather or the chance of survival with
the possibility of mutations occurring could be beneficial to the entire global
Fig. 1: The Casino-21 clients
will simulate the earth’s climate for the previous 50 years, and then begin
to predict what the earth’s climate will be like in the next 50 years.
Casino-21: Gambling Earth's Future
The weather conditions for
the second half of the 21st century and beyond are virtually unknown. Global
warming, rising ocean levels, the severity of storms and droughts — all may
present problems in the latter half of this century. With the upcoming distributed
computing project, Casino-21, scientists would be able to predict the world
of the future. Depending on the results, the unfavorable conditions may be avoided
by burning fewer substances that release carbon dioxide into the atmostphere,
such as coal, oil, and natural gas. (Granger)
The name Casino-21 is an
allusion to the scientific technique, Monte Carlo, which is the process of simulating
all possible scenarios of an event. In this case, Casino-21 will simulate every
possible climate effect that is possible. The Monte Carlo technique is used
in many day-to-day weather forecasts as well. Meterologists put current weather
conditions around the world into a computer, and get different estimates of
what the weather will be like. If three estimates are generated and all say
that it will be a hot, sunny day, then it most likely will be. If, however,
two say that it will be cold and wet and the other says it will be hot and sunny,
the forecast isn't quite so certain. This Monte Carlo technique is so-called
because the different weather conditions are just like the different rolls of
a dice. ("Welcome to evolutionary-research")
The Casino-21 project is
intense — it will require users to run the clients for a year. In that time,
users may complete one simulation, or — more likely — may be required to stop
the a simulation and begin another one. Users first must create a realistic
simulation of the world starting fifty years ago, and ending in the year 2000.
If the world created is feasible, the users' client will continue to run the
next fifty years. If not, the user will have to either start over or piggyback
off of another user's realistic world. Casino-21 reassures users that, even
if they do borrow someone else's model, both will still turn out differently.
Since there are so many parameters that are virtually unknown and must be estimated,
the odds of two worlds being the same are very small.
Fig. 2: Casino-21 may generate more awareness to the
environment and the way we treat it. (Freestockphotos.com )
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