The Power Sleep app turns smartphones all over the world into network computers for scientific research in the battle against diseases such as cancer and alzheimer’s.
The Power Sleep app is very straight forward. It looks like a smartphone alarm clock, but offers considerable added value over the usual wake-up feature. While the user sleeps, the smartphone “works” for a good cause by making its unused processing power available to the research effort. What this means in concrete terms is that small packets of data, no more than 1 megabyte in size – smaller, in fact, than a conventional MP3 file – are sent out from the University of Vienna servers and returned again after the mobile devices have performed their calculations. The data then flows directly into Prof Rattei’s research database which collects the results of protein test series from all over the world and makes them available to the scientific community for further comparative research.
From a technological viewpoint, Power Sleep is based on the American University of Berkeley’s BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) services. This scientific network connects approximately 30,000 PCs worldwide and uses them for computing-intensive research purposes. Power Sleep expands this approach by integrating mobile devices into the network – especially as the computing power of today’s smartphone generation is virtually the same as that of PCs and notebooks, as Wallner pointed out.