The BOINC app, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley in the USA allows Android smartphone users to lend their support to scientific research.
The app uses the idle computing power on a handset to perform calculations for a huge range of potential experiments, described by BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) as everything from “novel medical therapies to the discovery of new stars”.
While each individual device doesn’t offer much computing power, if thousands of users were to install the app the collective processing power would be significant, taking pressure off Berkeley’s computers. BOINC creator David Anderson said in a press release, “There are about a billion Android devices right now, and their total computing power exceeds that of the largest conventional supercomputers.”
Released yesterday, the BOINC app will run on Android 2.3 or higher and has been designed to activate only when the device is connected to a wifi service, so it can’t eat up the users data plan. The app is also pre set to only function when the device is plugged in and charging with the battery at 95% of capacity, as computing can slow recharge speeds.
Berkeley’s press department have also hinted that Anderson may be planning to expand the app’s market with a version of BOINC for iOS, allowing Berkeley researchers to tap into the global computing power of iPads and iPhones.