'It is the equivalent of harnessing the power of a supercomputer'

February 17, 2006

Myles Allen has teamed up with the BBC to harness the power of the public's PCs to predict climate change

Myles Allen is running the world's largest scientific experiment to predict the future climate.

The Oxford University physicist teamed up with the BBC this week, as part of its series of programmes on climate change, to harness the massed computing power of the public when their computers are not being used.

Participants are asked to download a computer climate model that will run thousands of times with tiny variations to help the scientists understand the effect of small changes to the environment and to refine their predictions.

Subsequent to the BBC coverage on Tuesday, Dr Allen said: "Some 5,000 people already signed up today and it will hit the main news at 6pm. That's the equivalent of harnessing the power of a supercomputer. If another 20,000 sign up tonight, that will be double the capacity of the world's largest supercomputer looking at climate change - the earth simulator in Japan. From the research point of view, it's getting more computing capacity and doing research we couldn't hope to do in any other way."

Expanding the project to include thousands more computers will allow the team to create atmosphere and ocean climate change simulations that run from 1920 to 2080.

Dr Allen first explained his idea for the project - www.climateprediction.net - in an article on DIY climate prediction in 1999. The project launched in 2003 and 25,000 users worldwide registered on the first weekend.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Dean NAZARBAYEV UNIVERSITY
Marketing Officer YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Globalisation

Times Higher Education World University Rankings data reveal the top 200 most outward-looking institutions

Common cactus finch (Geospiza scandens)

Tiffany Taylor on a thought-provoking view of the forces acting to ensure survival

Stressed businessman answering four telephones

Some surveys show faculty putting in at least 60 hours a week, but research casts doubt on whether this is a productive routine

Student asking question during class

University of Reading research finds link between undergraduate satisfaction and ethnicity of lecturers

Level of quality compass

Authors argue this means universities should spend less on senior academics and give promising younger scholars more of a chance