World Community Grid

From the website:  Let your computer daydream science. World Community Grid, a philanthropic initiative from IBM, enables anyone with a computer, smartphone or tablet to donate their unused computing power to advance cutting-edge scientific research on topics related to health, poverty and sustainability. Through the contributions of over 650,000 individuals and 460 organizations, World Community Grid has supported 31 research projects to date, including searches for more effective treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases. Other projects are looking for low-cost water filtration systems and new materials for capturing solar energy efficiently.

From the website: Scientists at Scripps Research are using World Community Grid to help search for potential treatments for COVID-19, and to build open-source tools to help address future pandemics quickly and early. Learn more about OpenPandemics – COVID-19 and the organizations other projects.

IBM’s World Community Grid is a way for everyone to get directly involved in research without having to work at all! By downloading a free software toolkit called BOINC, anyone can help researchers in a wide variety of fields by letting this program run while the computer is not being used. The program performs designated calculations that are hard for people but easy for computers. The more people that participate in the World Community Grid project, the faster we can solve some of the most complicated and urgent problems in human history!

How it Works: The BOINC software, a free and safe program developed by the University of California, Berkeley, runs designated calculations in an area specified by the user while the computer is idle (the computer must be on). If you begin running an application, BOINC will minimize its performance until idle again. The user can pause (suspend) or abort the project tasks or modify the CPU usage of BOINC when active.

Parental permission and administrative access to your computer is REQUIRED to install the BOINC program. For an in depth look at the World Community Grid Privacy policy, go to 

Getting Started: Head to the main World Community Grid website, a page with colorful slides, which you can view to learn more about the project. On the first blue slide, click the red “Join Volunteers” button in the middle of the page (circled in white).





A blue sign up page should appear, where you should enter your email and a password to create a World Community Grid account. This account will be used to keep track of the projects and tasks your computer will be working on.





After clicking “Next” (highlighted in white above), you will be asked to select projects you are interested in. Your computer can complete tasks from any of these areas. After selecting the projects of interest and clicking “Next” again, the installer should begin downloading. 





BOINC project manager

Installing and Usage: After downloading, open up the installer. Follow the instructions given by the installation wizard, and World Community Grid will be installed on your computer. By default, World Community Grid will begin on startup, but this can be changed in task manager by going to the “Startup” tab and disabling it on Windows.

The application itself contains two main tabs, “Tasks” and “Projects”. While the application is running, a taskbar in the “Tasks” tab will display the progress of the current project. In the “Task Commands” menu, the graphics tab will show a graphical description of the project, while the suspend and abort tabs will pause or abort your project upon clicking, respectively. The “Properties” tab of the “Task Commands” window will show statistics and extra information relating to the current project. 

The “Projects” tab shows you the current project being worked on and gives you the option to add new projects. Clicking on the “Add Project” button will open a new window with a list of projects to choose from. Clicking on “Next” will add the project to your current list of projects. The drop down menu in the projects tab allows you to select the project you’d like to work on. The “Project Commands” menu lets you update, suspend, reset and remove the selected project.