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New routes for LHC@Home

LHC@Home is a crowd computing project that allows citizens to donate unused computing time to scientists at CERN. LHC@Home co-ordinator Ben Segal gives an overview of the achievements thus far and the plans to not only let volunteers use their computers but also their brains. At the Citizen Cyber Science Summit in London he showedPrimeur Magazinea glimps of this LHC@Home future.

This year is the tenth anniversary of LHC@Home, one of the very first BOINC projects, set up to study the beam's stability in the accelerator. The application had to be compiled and installed on each user platform.

Since two years, LHC@Home 2.0 uses 3000 virtual machines all of the time all over the world, allowing to study much more general problems. Instead of receiving the compiled package of the application, the user receives a virtual machine where the problems are being sent to the user. The virtual machine can access all the libraries and all the modules necessary for any experiment at CERN. This technology runs theoretical physics' applications. The calculations are used to build up a database of theoretical simulations.

A next step is to not only use the volunteer's computer power but also his thinking capacity. In this approach, the volunteers can select and modify the tunable parameters in the Citizen CyberLab project. Unskilled people can do this very well, according to Ben Segal. A game platform prototype has been developed to help the volunteer scientist in this process.

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