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SeniorNet Joins World Community Grid PDF Email
Change the World . . . with Your Computer
This holiday season, give the gift of your idle computer time to assist humanitarian research

Millions of personal computers sit idly on desks and in homes worldwide. During this idle time, the mysteries of science and space continue to elude us. What if each of the world’s estimated 650 million computers could be linked to focus on humanity’s most pressing issues?

To make this vision a reality, SeniorNet has become a partner of World Community Grid, joining the IBM Corporation and a group of more than 225 companies, associations, foundations, nonprofits and academic institutions. SeniorNet is encouraging the community to contribute their idle PC time to assist humanitarian research by joining World Community Grid at and then becoming a member of Team SeniorNet.

World Community Grid uses grid technology to establish a permanent, flexible infrastructure that provides researchers with a readily available pool of computational power that can be used to solve problems plaguing humanity. Grid technology joins together many individual computers, creating a large system with massive computational power that far exceeds the power of a few supercomputers. Importantly, World Community Grid is easy and safe to use.

To join, individuals should go to and simply download and install a free, small software program on their computers. When idle, your computers request data from World Community Grid’s server. Computers then perform computations using this data, send the results back to the server and prompt it for a new piece of work.

“At SeniorNet we are ‘bringing wisdom to the Information Age,’ said Scott Rains, Director of Programs & Services for SeniorNet. “Part of wisdom is knowing how to put the resources at your disposal to best use. Sharing our processing power for projects of such clear social benefit, and encouraging others to do so, seems like wise stewardship to us.”

In its first year, World Community Grid ran the Human Proteome Folding Project, which provided scientists with data on how individual proteins within the human body affect human health, enabling them to develop new cures for diseases like lyme disease, malaria and tuberculosis. Scientists now have descriptions of 120,000 protein domains that are critical to human well-being; without the benefit of this free grid technology, it would have taken 5 years to get these results, compared with just 12 months on World Community Grid.

In November 2005 World Community Grid launched FightAIDS@Home. FightAIDS@Home, which is sponsored by The Scripps Research Institute, is using computational methods to identify new candidate drugs to block HIV protease, a key molecular structure that when blocked, stops the virus from maturing and thus is a way of avoiding the onset of AIDS and prolonging life.

In July 2006, World Community Grid launched a new effort that will assist in cancer research using the massive computational power of World Community Grid. The Help Defeat Cancer project will use World Community Grid to analyze tissue microarrays (TMA) – a new investigative tool that will ultimately help doctors select proper treatments and provide accurate prognosis for cancer patients.

Your computer will work on whatever projects you want. You can select from the projects currently active at World Community Grid by visiting the My Projects page. There you can view all available projects, and choose those in which you want to participate. (Currently, only Windows computers have the ability to opt-in or out of specific projects.)

Please go to and become a member today and then join Team SeniorNet!

Most computers aren't using all their computing power at a given time. Even when you are sending emails, working on a spreadsheet, creating graphics, surfing the web, you may only be employing a fraction of your machine's available computing power. World Community Grid provides a small, secure software application for individuals to download to their machine that can save this wasted power and put it to use.

You only have to be connected to the Internet when the software that you download grabs some data to process and again when it finishes processing it. You don't have to leave your computer connected to the Internet all the time. It just has to be on. Each segment of the project takes about 10 total hours to complete, so depending upon how much you run the program (i.e., how often you leave their computer on, or if you have the program running all the time or only when the screen saver is on, etc., that will determine when the program will send the completed data and retrieve a new project--when you connect to the Internet. Learn more .

Check the minimum system requirements and read the download agreement.

Instructions to join the SeniorNet team on the World Community Grid
  1. Click the Join Now button on the right side of the page in the "Become A Member" box.
  2. On the Join Now page, click the Download button for the type of Operating System on your personal computer
    Note: If Internet Explorer (or another browser you are using) prevents the download for security reasons, click the Information Bar below the Address Bar at the top of your browser and follow the instructions for permitting the download.
  3. After the files has downloaded, an installation icon appears on your desktop. Double-click the icon to install the software.
  4. Follow the instructions to establish your World Community Grid member name and password.
  5. After you have become a member, go back to the website and sign in using the member name and password that you created.
  6. After you have signed in, click the My Grid tab on the home page.
  7. On the My Grid page, click MY TEAM on the left navigation menu.
  8. Type SeniorNet in the ‘Contains’ Search Field.
  9. Click SeniorNet under ‘Team Name.’
  10. Click Join this Team on the ‘Team Information’ page.

You will receive a confirmation that you have successfully joined the team.

Find help on the World Community Grid Help page.

Ask for help in the World Community Grid Forums.
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