If FoldForCovid needs more computing power, why not ask the thousands of closed schools around the world?

I just found this project today, and proceeded to set it up on my RPi 4+ Model B 4Gb, but later had an idea. If all this project needs is more computers running the software, there are schools, stores, small-medium sized businesses which almost all will save some sort of library, IT department, or other computers set up for various reasons that are not currently being used. If I were a part of this project, I’d suggest first contacting as many school districts as possible around the world where there have been closures. I’m sure it can’t be too difficult to walk around and quickly install Balena or BOINC on each computer. I’m guessing at the very least you could add a zero the the number of computers currently running this software.

I might be completely wrong, and I don’t know how difficult this would actually be, but it still seems like a worthwhile investigation at the very least. Does anyone have any input, either to make it work or tell me that it’s impossible? I’m genuinely curious because this seems like a project that could very very easily become a massive advance for the COVID-19 research.

EDIT: Not to mention schools usually have extremely fast internet connections to accommodate thousands of students, teachers, and complex networks. This is a direct channel to all the number crunching you could possibly hope for.

i thought of that AND all the offices BUT someone has to pay for all the electricty for all those CPUs running at 110% 24x7

Hey @SrAylr, this is a great idea! In a previous life I used to be a network manager at a school and I know at least on my setup back then this would have been really easy to do. In those situations I would have rolled out the BOINC client using the software distribution system I already had in place rather than using the balenaOS image, but it would have been very simple to do. @dtischler might be interested here :slight_smile:

@chrisys I’m glad you think so! I was an assistant in my highschool library during my grade 12 year. I also have some contacts in my school districts IT department who I think would be interested in this. Additionally I’ve been back and forth with a web developer on Reddit who also thinks this is very viable. We’d both love to help however we can. I can say for certain that the software distribution system in place at my old school would work just as yours would, and I’m guessing most Canadian and American school districts do too.

As for @osde8info, I did take that into consideration, however given the circumstances, I think the extra power draw is a perfectly acceptable sacrifice, even if it does cost more. I would think the BOINC software should work for this without it becoming too excessive, however I’ll leave that detail to the dev team.

Thanks for the nice idea @ SrAylr!

I’d love to work with you on a proof-of-concept, if you think your district would be interested? Will send you a DM. Thanks!