Giving back to the Community

Welcome back, I’m Benedict, and in this post I would like to share with you how I try to help contribute back to society using the abilities that have been given to me.

Some of you may be wondering, “What do you do with all the things you have found or repaired?” Well, I can assure you they aren’t sitting in a pile in my home collecting dust.

I give them away, freely, to the people who need it. People (mainly teenagers) from single parent families who struggle financially, and to those who can’t afford a laptop, tablet or whatever gadget they need for their studies. I get asked about why I don’t charge people for my effort.

My answer to that is because I went through the same thing as they did. As a teenager starting secondary school, I asked my father for a computer to do school work. He just told me that we simply couldn’t afford one, not even a second hand one. He knew I liked to find electronics in the trash, so he asked me to search there for something useful to begin with.

That’s just what I did. A few blackouts, small electrical fires and a couple of electrocutions later, I had a working computer. It was slow and clunky, but it was good enough for that time. Sadly, I don’t have a photo of that from that time. However, if you wish to see some other projects I worked on in my younger days, have a look at some of my older posts below.

Donating things aside, I also participate in a volunteer computing project through the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, contributing my computing resources to the World Community Grid in the hope of speeding up the search for the cures for various diseases. Let me explain how this works.

The researchers, doctors and scientists are trying to find the potential cure for various pressing diseases around the world, such as AIDS, Ebola, Zika, Cancer, Malaria, etc. This is normally done through the use of proteins and whatever other biological ingredients necessary (Sorry I don’t know much about medicine, so I won’t speculate here.).

The main problem about finding the cure is that the combination of possible proteins, any of which may hold a potential cure, number in the trillions and quadrillions. How many can you test in a lab in a day? These researchers and scientists have modeled the various diseases and their potential cures into computer model simulations because computers can work much faster than humans in searching the models and studying their interaction.

Here’s where our computers come into play. Since the amount of computing power required to do this task is way too much even for the largest data centers to handle, the workload is split into millions or billions of smaller tasks that are then sent to the computers of those who participate in this project all over the world. Together, we can help to speed up the search for a cure, from a matter of decades, to a matter of years.

You can find more information about these projects through the link below:
https://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/discover.action#comparisons

I’ll also put a screenshot here from the Rosetta@Home project, which I m also participating in. (Sorry about the poor resolution, but you get the idea.)

rosettahome-2

Despite having many older less powerful computers that people generally are not in favor for, their combined processing power would be sufficient to get the work done within the time limit. Strength in union, and United we stand, many would say.

You see, unlike other people who volunteer their time or donate their money, those are two things that are not on my side. Instead, I’d rather give from the abundance from the knowledge and skills of what I have learnt.

Thanks for reading once again, and I do hope this will inspire you to go and help other people in whatever way you can. When we support each other, we create a more caring community. Until next time, take care.

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