When needed, computers can be very powerful tools, but the rest of the time, they just sit there running whatever they did to continue running. Some years ago researchers realized a system could be developed to network the unused power of computers together to perform calculations. Now researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, with funding from NSF, have expanded their Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) project to work with Android devices.
Just like our more powerful desktops and laptops, our smartphones and tablets are often doing less than they can because we have not given them anything to do. The new BOINC app is looking to change that by running projects from services using BOINC software, including Berkeley's SETI@Home project. Other projects include Asteriods@Home, Einstein@Home, and FightAIDS@Home.
To keep from draining your Android device's battery or your data plan too much, the BOINC app has default settings that restrict it from running when the device is not charging and limit its transmissions to Wi-Fi. For iOS users, the researchers may develop a BIONC app next.