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CERN supports European Year of Volunteering through Citizen Cyberscience Centre

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Researchers at CERN have begun public testing of a new version of the popular volunteer computing project LHC@home. This version allows volunteers to participate for the first time in simulating high-energy collisions of protons in CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Thus, volunteers can now actively help physicists in the search for new fundamental particles that will provide insights into the origin of our Universe, by contributing spare computing power from their personal computers and laptops.

This is just one example of a series of projects and events organised by the Citizen Cyberscience Centre, a partnership between CERN, UNITAR (the UN Institute for Training and Research) and the University of Geneva, to promote volunteer-based science in this, the European Year of Volunteering 2011.

Other projects the Citizen Cyberscience Centre has initiated focus on promoting volunteer science in the developing world, for humanitarian purposes. For example, in collaboration with IBM's philanthropic World Community Grid and Tsinghua University in Beijing, the Citizen Cyberscience Centre launched the Computing for Clean Water project. The project uses the supercomputer-like strength of World Community Grid to enable scientists to design efficient low-cost water filters for clean water.

In a separate project supported by HP, volunteers can help UNOSAT, the Operational Satellite Applications Programme of UNITAR, to improve damage assessment in developing regions affected by natural or man-made disasters, for humanitarian purposes.

Sergio Bertolucci, director of research and scientific computing at CERN, emphasised: 'While LHC@home is a great opportunity to encourage more public involvement in science, the biggest benefits of citizen cyberscience are for researchers in developing regions who have limited resources for computing and manpower. Online volunteers can boost available research resources enormously at very low cost. This is a trend we are committed to promote through the Citizen Cyberscience Centre.'