Thursday, March 27, 2008

World Community Grid Research + Climate Rant

Nice to see some research papers using data from WCG projects:

HPF2 Progress and News

I've always been a bit skeptical about the quality of the research behind some of these projects. E.g. a seemingly knowledgable poster on slashdot claimed the 'Help Conquer Cancer' project were using a grossly inefficient and sloppy technique. I was sufficiently convinced to switch off that particular project.

Despite my doubts I still feel overall that this sort of research (protein folding and interaction predictions) is a better use of CPU resources than the SETI or climate change modelling. Having said that I like the idea that SETI is running, but maybe the balance is wrong.

As for climate change, well I have many issues here. But ultimately I think we need to just look at the big picture (at the political level) and say, y'know we don't and can't know what is happening and to what degree CO2 and other emissions are responsible. We should (I would suggest) be attempting to minimize our modification of the atmosphere and thus minimize the probability that we invoke some change with detrimental consequences.

I seriously doubt that progress will be made on CO2 emmissions, and having spent the last few weeks reading about fractional brownian motion I'm also beginning to realise that the data we have is a very small set of samples from which very little can be derived mathematically. What we do know is that billions of tonnes of CO2 will have *an* effect and anything that rocks the boat is probably going to be bad for something or someone given that so much life on this planet, human or otherwise, teeters on a knife edge.

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