Computers are valuable to science because they can simulate scientific models. All computers have the potential to do this, so you don’t have to be a scientist to help science. Crowdsourcing is using the computational power of the public to solve a problem. I will be covering two projects that use crowdsourcing successfully.
There are some things computers aren’t good at, like folding proteins. So Foldit was designed as a game where you get a high score by folding proteins into as small of a space as possible. By helping the computer fold the protein, you help solve problems that contribute towards HIV/AIDS, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s research. Players have already discovered a new algorithm for folding proteins by playing this game.
Sometimes computers are good at solving the problem already, but there is too much data for a single computer system to handle. Einstein@Home uses crowdsourcing to go through data collected by gravitational wave detectors in order to look for “evidence of periodic sources (such as spinning neutron stars), which would be the gravitational equivalent of pulsars.” By downloading and running their program, you can help scientists make discoveries in gravitational physics.
All computers have the capability to do scientific computations. Using crowdsourcing, the average person can now aid science in making new discoveries.