More than 60,000 people are donating idle computer power to a project that is ultimately trying to find cures for diseases like cancer and AIDS. The number-crunching power of all those PCs working together is the equivalent of one supercomputer. If the research team can increase that number tenfold, major scientific breakthroughs are possible. . .
Communities have sprung up connected by the idea that common people with spare computers can help find cures for disease. The project is called Rosetta@home. Participation requires free downloadable software running on machines with 500 Mhz (350Mhz OS X for Mac) Even Linux users can help.
The technology, known as distributed or network computing, isn’t new. In the late 1990s, a project at the University of California, Berkeley, started inviting people to donate their computer power to scan distant radio signals for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. Millions of people have participated in the SETI@home project. (Wired )