Request from a journalist

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Donna Blankinship

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Message 15522 - Posted: 4 May 2006, 17:56:53 UTC

I\'m a reporter for The Associated Press working on a story about rosetta@home. When I interviewed Dr. Baker, he suggested I post a request for input on the message boards.

What I\'m hoping to find out from a few individuals is: How did you find out about the project? Why did you get involved? Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware? What have you learned about biomedical research? What have you learned about computers? What have you gained from your participation in the project? Where do you live? What do you do for a living? How old are you?

My preference is to speak with you on the telephone (if you live in the U.S.). E-mail me if you want to set up a time to talk.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Donna Blankinship
dblankinship@ap.org

P.S. In case you were wondering, I work out of the AP\'s Seattle office. I write about science and education. This story is slated to be a national tech story, but probably will also run in science and health news.
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Message 15526 - Posted: 4 May 2006, 18:39:50 UTC - in response to Message 15522.  
Last modified: 4 May 2006, 18:51:01 UTC

For others to post, just click reply to this post to fill in the blanks.
How did you find out about the project?

Why did you get involved?

Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?

What have you learned about biomedical research?

What have you learned about computers?

What have you gained from your participation in the project?

Where do you live?

What do you do for a living?

How old are you?


If having a DC project with BOINC is of interest to you, with volunteer or cloud computing resources, but have no time for the BOINC learning curve,
use a hosting service that understands BOINC projects: http://DeepSci.com
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Message 15527 - Posted: 4 May 2006, 18:50:20 UTC - in response to Message 15526.  

How did you find out about the project?

I was crunching on other BOINC projects, and noticed Rosetta listed on the statistics page and decided to check it out.
Why did you get involved?

I\'ve tried crunching many projects, I\'m a sucker for the new one. Last Fall Rosetta was coming out of beta testing, and was the new project D\'jour for me. NOW, I\'m totally sold on the purpose of what they are trying to achieve here. Their servers always have work ready to run, and the protein field is so vast that they need all the help they can get. Improving Rosetta is just a part of what we\'re going to be doing with the project over time. We\'re also looking forward to helping kick some scientific butt in CASP7 :)
Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?

No, just using what I had already.
What have you learned about biomedical research?

Loads. Much of what I know I\'ve learned through involvement with the project.
What have you learned about computers?

Mostly how little most people understand about how they work.
What have you gained from your participation in the project?

I find I\'m learning more every day about how the science works. It is especially rewarding when the project decides to implement one of your ideas. I think that it does me good to give something back each day, by helping people answer their questions on the message boards.
Where do you live?

Minnesota
What do you do for a living?

Computer programmer... I don\'t do Windows.
How old are you?

The big 4.0.

Looking forward to your article.
If having a DC project with BOINC is of interest to you, with volunteer or cloud computing resources, but have no time for the BOINC learning curve,
use a hosting service that understands BOINC projects: http://DeepSci.com
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Message 15540 - Posted: 4 May 2006, 23:43:25 UTC - in response to Message 15526.  

How did you find out about the project?

When FaD (Find a Drug) closed down, this was one of the more appealing projects
Why did you get involved?

One of the teams that I\'m a part of moved from DF (Distributed Folding) to D2oL to FaD to here.
Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?

I\'ve upgraded and increased the number of computer systems for DC projects, but for this particular project, I\'m only running it on my single system at home.
What have you learned about biomedical research?

All but one of the DC projects I\'ve been a part of was more than happy to answer questions about the science or direct you to where you could learn more about the science involved. Often, other volunteers who are familiar with the particular field will help explain Masters Thesis material in language ordinary folks can understand. But the single most important thing I\'ve learned is that to get results soon, we need more volunteers and more computers taking part.
What have you learned about computers?

I\'ve learned that my computers don\'t like being overclocked because of the motherboard chipset and brand of hard drive. It\'s been easier for me to just put together another reliable system and run multiple computers instead of overclocking one. We generally learn what we need to - to use our computers for the purpose we use them for. It\'s amazing what you pick up from people that use their systems differently, be they clients or other volunteers in DC projects. Using applications like RealVNC to remotely control other machines on your network, for example. Or totally useless trivia like the fact that the Set command under Win98 orders things differently than under Win2k/WinXP.
What have you gained from your participation in the project?

A sense of accomplishment knowing I\'m helping turn this application into one that will benefit mankind.
Where do you live?

Would you believe an igloo? Feb 1991 in Kodiak, Alaska.
What do you do for a living?

Computer tech.
How old are you?

Roughly 39.63 years.

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Message 15546 - Posted: 5 May 2006, 3:10:27 UTC - in response to Message 15526.  
Last modified: 5 May 2006, 3:19:20 UTC

How did you find out about the project?

I\'m an alph tester for Boinc and saw Rosetta when they were trying to set it up.
Why did you get involved?

I\'m a cancer patient.
Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?

I didn\'t buy any for Rosetta, though I\'ve bought 3 just for Boinc related projects. I\'m doing work for 14 projects currently.
What have you learned about biomedical research?

They have alot more to learn, like a cure for my form of cancer, as but one example.
What have you learned about computers?

I\'ve learned more about networks, common failures when working your puters at 100% on a continuous basis, etc.
What have you gained from your participation in the project?

I enjoy troubleshooting, It gives me a sense of satisfaction to help find problems. These aren\'t machine controls, but I do help others find and fix the problems they have with these projects.
Where do you live?

South Carolina
What do you do for a living?

Psuedo retired electrical machine controls designer, now doing stock trading since sidelined by my illness.
How old are you?

43




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Message 15562 - Posted: 5 May 2006, 12:22:17 UTC - in response to Message 15526.  



How did you find out about the project?


I was crunching on the World Community Grid for the HPF 1 project. Which used a earlier version of Rosetta. An annoucement was made on the World Community Grid Forums explaining Rosetta@Home and thier need for computing power.

Why did you get involved?


I am 100 percent assured by my Genetic background of contracting Cancer anytime in the next 10 to 15 years.

Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?


I accelerated the purchase of a new computer I was putting off till the Winter.

What have you learned about biomedical research?


I have lerned all about protien folding prediction and its relationship to Drug Discovery and protien design.

What have you learned about computers?


Nothing, I didn\'t already know.

What have you gained from your participation in the project?


The knowledge that I took ownership of my Cancer propensity and participated in something which may offer hope to myself and others all over the World.

Where do you live?


Auburn, Washington State, USA

What do you do for a living?


Computer Maintenace.

How old are you?


48

[/quote]

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Message 15563 - Posted: 5 May 2006, 12:24:18 UTC - in response to Message 15526.  
Last modified: 5 May 2006, 12:25:30 UTC

How did you find out about the project?


I used to do Classic Seti. I was looking to get back into DC and I saw this as an active project.

Why did you get involved?


I\'ve always been interested in the biological sciences so I gave it a go.

Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?


Just using my one computer.

What have you learned about biomedical research?


I\'ve gotten a better feel for the intricies of protein structure and folding.


What have you learned about computers?


I\'ve learned quite a bit about how they work. I\'ve learned more about Windows and how to take better care of it.


What have you gained from your participation in the project?


A sense of community. Knowledge. Friends.

Where do you live?


I\'m from NE Ohio, but currently living just north of Pusan, South Korea.

What do you do for a living?


Currently an ESL teacher.

How old are you?


30


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Message 15578 - Posted: 5 May 2006, 15:03:36 UTC
Last modified: 5 May 2006, 15:04:24 UTC

We should point out that the survey going here is very skewed. Only those that are comfortable posting on the boards and monitoring them will reply. This may tend to mean more \"computer-types\", because they don\'t mind setting at the keyboard and reading the boards.

I\'d be glad to speak to you, but be advised that I\'m the project\'s biggest fan :)

You can EMail me by removing the letters \"NOSPAMMERS\" from this:
nofeetsp1amst@yahoom.comers
(these boards are public, and the SPAM robots are relentless). Then we can work out the details.
If having a DC project with BOINC is of interest to you, with volunteer or cloud computing resources, but have no time for the BOINC learning curve,
use a hosting service that understands BOINC projects: http://DeepSci.com
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Donna Blankinship

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Message 15580 - Posted: 5 May 2006, 15:37:10 UTC

I\'m fine about hearing from the computer folks out there. I\'m not looking for survey-like information, just anecdotes. By the way, I have other ways to reach the biologists. Thanks for all your responses. This is very helpful.
Donna
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Message 15585 - Posted: 5 May 2006, 17:08:22 UTC - in response to Message 15522.  

Why did you get involved? Was a big Seti Classic cruncher and then when I heard about the BOINC project switched over to it and then targeted my resources to more useful projects.

Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware? Just what I have, but then again I have over 400 computers at my disposal

What have you learned about biomedical research? I work for a University so any questions I have had I take to a medical researcher on staff and have learned many things.
What have you learned about computers? Sorry been using them for 25 years now and still have not learned it all. So everyday there is something new.

What have you gained from your participation in the project? A sense of competition, fellowship and in general doing something good for my fellow man.

Where do you live? Prince George, BC, Canada

What do you do for a living? Technical Support Specialist

How old are you? 43

My preference is to speak with you on the telephone (if you live in the U.S.). E-mail me if you want to set up a time to talk.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Donna Blankinship
dblankinship@ap.org

P.S. In case you were wondering, I work out of the AP\'s Seattle office. I write about science and education. This story is slated to be a national tech story, but probably will also run in science and health news.[/quote]

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Message 15605 - Posted: 6 May 2006, 11:28:06 UTC - in response to Message 15526.  

How did you find out about the project?

Going through all the Boinc projects (out of curiosity). I first heard about seti a couple of years ago. Nowadays I\'m on Rosetta and Predictor. I felt it preferable to put my resources in something less... speculative (even though I find it unlikely not to exist alien intelligence somewhere out there).

Why did you get involved?

I feel it\'s worthwhile. If we can cut down from years to months (or from decades to years) the time needed to do this research, and (hopefully) translate that into saved lifes or better quality of living for those affected... then it\'s money well spent.

Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?

No, I just use what I already have.

What have you learned about biomedical research?

The little I know was through these projects. One of the most curious things, for me, is the lego approach... how the physical shape determines the relations between elements (as scientific as I can get in my discourse).

What have you learned about computers?

Not much I didn\'t already know, I think.

What have you gained from your participation in the project?

The pleasure of knowing I am contributing for something important and a larger electrical bill.

Where do you live?

Lisbon, Portugal.

What do you do for a living?

Graphic designer.

How old are you?

28
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Message 15617 - Posted: 6 May 2006, 18:33:48 UTC - in response to Message 15526.  
Last modified: 6 May 2006, 19:04:35 UTC

How did you find out about the project?


Back in Dec05, I had been running GoogleCompute (via GoogleToolBar) on my PCs for about 2yr, but I never actually looked into the details. GoogleDC was supposed to donate the computer\'s idle time to various worthy causes.

As the recent GoogleToolbar versions didn\'t support the DC feature anymore, but I wanted to contribute my PCs\' idle time to worthy causes, rather than just jumping on the \"default\" project, I tried to educate myself about the various projects available.

I spent a bit of time reading DC project sites and wrote my conclusions in http://www.hyper.net/dc-howto.html for others to benefit from the time I spent.

Rosetta is my main project now.

Why did you get involved?


I wanted to contribute my PCs\' idle time to change the world for the better.

Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?


Existing computers, but I recently upgraded all of them with an extra 512MB RAM module \"for Rosetta\" (to be able to run big WUs, like vaccines). Plus I now run 24/7 a computer which I used to shutdown overnight (my other computers were running 24/7 anyway).

What have you learned about biomedical research?


I now have a general idea about where things stand and the challenges they\'re facing.

What have you learned about computers?


Nothing I didn\'t already know.

What have you gained from your participation in the project?


It just feels good to contribute.

Where do you live?


Greece.

What do you do for a living?


I\'m an enterpreneur.

How old are you?


35
Best UFO Resources
Wikipedia R@h
How-To: Join Distributed Computing projects that benefit humanity
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Message 15636 - Posted: 7 May 2006, 5:54:02 UTC - in response to Message 15526.  


How did you find out about the project?

-saw it being discussed on my teams forums http://www.boincuk.com

Why did you get involved?

-it is a worthwhile project. And thank you to Dr Baker for giving us all the
chance to participate!

Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?

- My very first PC ( 2 years ago ) was an ex-office machne running Windows 98.
I had bought this just to learn Windows and get into computing in general.
I discovered BOINCing (through SETI) and upgraded my machine to Windows XP.
Since then, I have upgraded again, faster CPU and more RAM.

What have you learned about biomedical research?

-Quite a lot,mainly from the forums on this project and other BOINC projects.

What have you learned about computers?

-Virtually everything I now know. My first experience of computers (briefly)
was back in the early 1980s running a DEC Rainbow PC ( MS-DOS v2.02 and a
10 MB hard disk with 128k of RAM ) Then nothing until 2 years ago when I
decided it was time to learn modern (!) PC stuff.

What have you gained from your participation in the project?

- The satisfaction of being actually involved in something worthwhile.

Where do you live?

-Leicester, in the heart of the UK.

What do you do for a living?

- Desk pilot. (actually, I work in a call centre - arranging travel insurance)

How old are you?

Shhh! 50 and a half.........



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Message 15637 - Posted: 7 May 2006, 6:43:39 UTC - in response to Message 15580.  

I\'m fine about hearing from the computer folks out there. I\'m not looking for survey-like information, just anecdotes. By the way, I have other ways to reach the biologists. Thanks for all your responses. This is very helpful.
Donna



Donna - have you considered widening your net ?
If you posted this question on all the other BOINC projects
Cafe sections, you would get a huge and varied response from
all over the globe. This forum is fairly quiet compared to
the SETI and Einstein forums!
Total BOINC participants worldwide at the moment is approx
650,000.

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Donna Blankinship

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Message 15661 - Posted: 7 May 2006, 19:57:54 UTC

John:
Thanks for the suggestion, but I\'m interested in doing a story about Rosetta, not distributed computing in general.
Donna
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Message 15662 - Posted: 7 May 2006, 20:06:43 UTC

OK Donna! \'twas merely a suggestion.......



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Message 15693 - Posted: 8 May 2006, 23:05:59 UTC - in response to Message 15526.  
Last modified: 8 May 2006, 23:07:10 UTC

How did you find out about the project?

When the lead up to Find-a-Drug shutting down came into action, saw an add for Rosetta on the Find-a-Drug forums. In fact, Mr Baker posted on the forums himself.
Why did you get involved?

To try and do somthing useful with my spare computers.
Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?

Existing hardware, although I plan in the future to buy more. (As soon as my pay allows!)
What have you learned about biomedical research?

Little. I\'ve learnt what a protein is. (Didn\'t know they existed before really!) and some of the specifics behind the project, but TBH I\'m more interested in the web and computers than proteins.
What have you learned about computers?

I\'ve learnt more about the specific details between AMD and Intel processors, from people on this board. Also, noting diffences between processor architecture (My Fujitsu Siemens laptop\'s processor - Intel Celeron Mobile 1.5ghz is faster than my Compaq Evo\'s processor was (gave evo away to someone who needed it more...) Intel P4 2ghz).
What have you gained from your participation in the project?

Some more knowledge about computers. Friends (from one of the teams I crunch for). More knowledge about biology (I really HATED that subject at school!)
Where do you live?

By the end of this weekend, near Cardiff, UK. Now, near London, UK.
What do you do for a living?

Moving to job - Trainee Web Designer
How old are you?

19


<EDIT: Some clarification, and spelling corrections>
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Message 15698 - Posted: 9 May 2006, 0:05:17 UTC
Last modified: 9 May 2006, 0:11:36 UTC

How did you find out about the project?

I help in Seti@home, so I went to the Boinc Site and I found this interesting project.

Why did you get involved?


I think this a very important project for all of us. No one knows what the future has for us about our health.

Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware?



Just my computer.....well, my brother\'s computer :)

What have you learned about biomedical research?


Nothing yet, I\'m new here. But from what I can see in other projects forums, you can learn a lot from the science board.

What have you learned about computers?


Nothing new. Just new softwares related to Boinc projects. (like in Seti@home skymaps, etc.-)

What have you gained from your participation in the project?


More self-esteem, hahaha. No, it\'s important that people from other hemispheres can help.

Where do you live?


Rancagua, Chile. (hope somebody knows where it is ;)

What do you do for a living?


Accounting.

How old are you?


I\'m 21 a week ago :)
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Message 15699 - Posted: 9 May 2006, 0:27:38 UTC - in response to Message 15697.  


How did you find out about the project? I can\'t remember, but I think it was mentioned in the NY Times.

Why did you get involved? In grad school, I did research on the state courts (crunching numbers on civil litigation projects) and I remember how slow our computers were when we tried working with larger databases. The distributed computing seemed like a brilliant way to gather more power and advance research leaps and bounds. I got involved with this specific project since it seems like such an advance on the basic world of knowledge. All the other projects seem like a bunch of academic nerds working on their little fiefdom. Rosetta seems like true research that will advance the human condition that I, a regular guy with no scientific training, can advance in my little way. I remember when the human DNA was mapped and thought \"well, that\'s done, what will they do next?\" To me, Rosetta seems like the next step.

Did you buy any new equipment to get into the project or did you just use existing computer hardware? Just an existing old machine, but I think I\'ll buy a new machine soon (that I probably don\'t really need) primarily to donate the use of.

What have you learned about biomedical research? quite a bit actually. kind of surprised at how little I know about the whole topic.

What have you learned about computers? the distributed computing concept is facinating to me - I\'ve always been surprised at home little actual use my computer gets (and I\'m sure everyone else\'s) - this is such a practical solution with such little incremental cost to the project.

What have you gained from your participation in the project? other than basic satisfaction and a higher electric bill? how about an interesting topic for cocktail parties? People are always interested when they ask \"what do you do?\" and I reply \"I\'m a scientist working on protein folding\" with a slight smirk...

Where do you live? Scottsdale, Arizona

What do you do for a living? I find money for large real estate projects.

How old are you? 38
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Donna Blankinship

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Message 15828 - Posted: 10 May 2006, 20:05:04 UTC

If you feel comfortable doing so, would all the people who have commented on this thread please e-mail me your full name, hometown, and age (and your screen name so I can connect the dots) so I will have that information if I decide to quote you in my story. If you would be willing to speak on the phone as well, let me know.

Thanks for your help. This has been a very interesting story to research.

Donna Blankinship
dblankinship@ap.org
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