[unrev-II] Online volunteering article

From: Grant Bowman (grantbow@svpal.org)
Date: Mon May 07 2001 - 00:58:20 PDT

  • Next message: Henry van Eyken: "Re: [unrev-II] Online volunteering article"

    This is an article about "distributed human projects." The
    http://www.dmoz.org yahoo-like directory is one of them with 34,000
    editors participating.

    Mind Over Matter: Online volunteers donate their brainpower for
    interests of science


    A few quotes:

    "Open Mind volunteers can take part in more than 25 online activities to
    create a sort of common-sense database, feeding information into a
    computer based on tasks that range from the straightforward (listing
    objects that appear in a picture) to the thoughtful (teaching the
    computer about people's goals and desires). Eventually a computer with
    a modicum of common sense could be used for a variety of purposes,
    including vastly improved Web searching."

    "These collaborations are widely viewed as the next step in
    distributed-computing projects, which break down complex computations
    into many smaller tasks that are then parceled out via the Net to
    volunteers' computers. The PCs work on the tasks when idle. Such
    projects have become quite common, attracting millions of volunteers to
    endeavors like scanning radio-telescope signals for alien messages and
    cracking data-encryption codes."

    "I've estimated that something like 100 million mouse clicks have been
    wasted on Solitaire," Stork said. "Instead of just playing a game, Web
    volunteers could be helping science or contributing to the world's
    largest software endeavor."

    -- Grant Bowman                                   <grantbow@svpal.org>

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