It was about 21 years ago that Berkley started one of the first projects that would allow you to donate idle computing time to scientific research. In particular, your computer could help crunch data from radio telescopes looking for extraterrestrial life. Want to help? You may be too late. The project is going into hibernation while they focus on analyzing data already processed.
According to the home page:
We’re doing this for two reasons:
1) Scientifically, we’re at the point of diminishing returns; basically, we’ve analyzed all the data we need for now.
2) It’s a lot of work for us to manage the distributed processing of data. We need to focus on completing the back-end analysis of the results we already have, and writing this up in a scientific journal paper.
So what do you think? Maybe they found ET and just don’t want to announce it too soon. Or maybe the cost of GPU-based supercomputers is now so low that it really doesn’t make sense to send jobs all over the Internet. Maybe everyone who used to donate is mining Bitcoin now? Or maybe they just really analyzed all their data. But what fun is that?
On the other hand, there are still other projects around that do distributed processing, most of them built on the Berkley framework BOINC. Folding@Home just started up a coronavirus program, for instance. If you’d rather do something more personal as a citizen scientist, you can join the zoo.