Destroy the Universe While Saving Lives With LHC@home

Brad Chacos

If the scientists at CERN ever actually succeed at recreating the Big Bang and discovering that elusive and oh-so-tantalizing Higgs Boson particle, some folks reckon bad things might go down. Goodbye world-style bad things. That's probably not true, but if it were to occur, wouldn't you want to be able to stare down into the swirling vortex of doom and say "Hey, I helped make that!" Well, now's your chance – CERN's giving you the opportunity to donate your precious computer cycles to a virtual Large Hadron Collider with the newly launched LHC@home 2.0.

What exactly are those geniuses doing with your processing power? First, the sexy part: LHC@home "simulates collisions between two beams of protons traveling at almost the speed of light in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Scientists working at CERN compare these simulations, based on their own theoretical models, with real data from the four LHC experiments," according to the program's press release.

But even when CERN doesn't need your CPU for beginning-of-days simulations, your computer's being used for a good cause. "Through this virtual supercomputer, the Citizen Cyberscience Centre is providing a low cost technology for researchers in developing countries to meet challenges like providing clean water and even tackling vital humanitarian work including crisis mapping and damage assessment."

Saving lives while possibly ending the world? What are you waiting for? Go check it out !

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