Donate idle CPU time for a causeA billion Androids could provide PetaFLOPs of computing power

Here's a novel idea from HTC. They have started a program that will allow you to "donate" idle CPU time to research through distributed computing. 

For some of us, this idea isn't new, but for the rest here's a quick and dirty explanation. When you're not actively using your Android phone or tablet, you can process data for UC Berkley through the cloud. Different projects use this data for things like AIDS research, or the quest for clean drinking water in the third world, or even the search for extra-terrestrial life. You probably think your one, lone Android device isn't going to contribute much, but HTC says that with enough participation the processing power could be measured in PetaFLOPS. That's like an IBM supercomputer, and it will make a difference.

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It will all be done through the HTC Power To Give app, which should be hitting Google Play shortly. 

Mobile World Congress

The process happens while your Android is connected to Wifi and plugged in for a charge, so it shouldn't affect battery life or your data cap. While there will be some bugs at first (there are always bugs at first) this sounds like  great way to put that idle CPU time to good use.

Hit the break for the full press release.

Mobile-based volunteer computing project to empower smartphone owners to help answer some of the world’s biggest questions

Barcelona, Spain – 24 February 2014 - HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today unveiled HTC Power To GiveTM, an initiative that aims to create the a supercomputer by harnessing the collective processing power of Android smartphones.

Currently in beta, HTC Power To Give aims to galvanize smartphone owners to unlock their unused processing power in order to help answer some of society’s biggest questions. Currently, the fight against cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer’s; the drive to ensure every child has clean water to drink and even the search for extra-terrestrial life are all being tackled by volunteer computing platforms.

Empowering people to use their Android smartphones to offer tangible support for vital fields of research, including medicine, science and ecology, HTC Power To Give has been developed in partnership with Dr. David Anderson of the University of California, Berkeley. The project will support the world’s largest volunteer computing initiative and tap into the powerful processing capabilities of a global network of smartphones.

Strength in numbers

One million HTC One smartphones, working towards a project via HTC Power To Give, could provide similar processing power to that of one of the world’s 30 supercomputers (one PetaFLOP). This could drastically shorten the research cycles for organizations that would otherwise have to spend years analyzing the same volume of data, potentially bringing forward important discoveries in vital subjects by weeks, months, years or even decades. For example, one of the programs available at launch is IBM's World Community Grid, which gives anyone an opportunity to advance science by donating their computer, smartphone or tablet's unused computing power to humanitarian research. To date, the

World Community Grid volunteers have contributed almost 900,000 years' worth of processing time to cutting-edge research.

Limitless future potential

Cher Wang, Chairwoman, HTC commented, “We’ve often used innovation to bring about change in the mobile industry, but this programme takes our vision one step further. With HTC Power To Give, we want to make it possible for anyone to dedicate their unused smartphone processing power to contribute to projects that have the potential to change the world.”

“HTC Power To Give will support the world’s largest volunteer computing initiative, and the impact that this project will have on the world over the years to come is huge. This changes everything,” noted Dr. David Anderson, Inventor of the Shared Computing Initiative BOINC, University of California, Berkeley.

Cher Wang added, “We’ve been discussing the impact that just one million HTC Power To Give-enabled smartphones could make, however analysts estimate that over 780 million Android phones were shipped in 2013i alone. Imagine the difference we could make to our children’s future if just a fraction of these Android users were able to divert some of their unused processing power to help find answers to the questions that concern us all.”

Opt-in with ease

After downloading the HTC Power To Give app from the Google PlayTM store, smartphone owners can select the research programme to which they will divert a proportion of their phone’s processing power. HTC Power To Give will then run while the phone is charging and connected to a WiFi network, enabling people to change the world whilst sitting at their desk or relaxing at home.

The beta version of HTC Power To Give will be available to download from the Google Play store and will initially be compatible with the HTC One family, HTC Butterfly and HTC Butterfly S. HTC plans to make the app more widely available to other Android smartphone owners in the coming six months as the beta trial progresses.

HTC Power To Give was created in partnership with Dr. David Anderson, Inventor of the Shared Computing Initiative BOINC, University of California, Berkeley, and Fearlessly Frank, Global Brand Consultancy.