Distributed Thinking

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Message 64032 - Posted: 13 Nov 2009, 6:43:54 UTC

Include the general population in your science, and research and you come up with better answers then without them.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1301998977&play=1

Notice how the IBM ads indicate that you NEED a 10,000 processor supercomputer to solve these problems? Rosetta@home has 80,000 processors at a fraction of the cost!

Creating BOINC projects is a great way to get to achieve multiple objectives. Public outreach and education (which perhaps attracts grant money). Low-cost computing resources (which allows better modeling and fine-grain simulation). Expose your ideas to the vast audience of the internet and very creative combinations and collaborations can result.

If you are interested in creating your own BOINC project, but not so interested in setting up and running BOINC, I'd like to help. Be sure to PM me.

Perhaps you can help with one of these interesting problems and get paid for your efforts:
http://innocentive.com

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Running Microsoft's "System Idle Process" will never help cure cancer, AIDS nor Alzheimer's. But running Rosetta@home just might!
https://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/
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Message 64116 - Posted: 21 Nov 2009, 11:58:08 UTC

Distributed human thinking is what makes things go wrong when you have too many people working on the same thing at the same time. Too many cooks spoiling the soup, so to speak. That's what makes DC so great: pure objectivity. All we have to do is come up with a goal and some program code for finding it. The computers involved will do the rest, and without the threat of skewing results or anything like that...

Let's spread the word to everyone to hop on the BOINC bandwagon. Then there'll be no worry about humans trying to solve problems better left to the computer... :)


The lovely lady you see isn't I, but Hayley Westenra, a classical crossover singer from Christchurch, NZ. There is no known voice as hers. Check her out- she's seraphic.

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Message 64120 - Posted: 21 Nov 2009, 19:04:51 UTC - in response to Message 64116.  
Last modified: 21 Nov 2009, 19:05:33 UTC

Ummm..... what about the problems that are better left to the humans ???

GalaxyZoo, StarDust@Home, and TheyWorkForYou.com, anyone?


Distributed human thinking is what makes things go wrong when you have too many people working on the same thing at the same time.

...

Then there'll be no worry about humans trying to solve problems better left to the computer... :)
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Message 64127 - Posted: 22 Nov 2009, 11:28:14 UTC - in response to Message 64116.  

Distributed human thinking is what makes things go wrong when you have too many people working on the same thing at the same time. Too many cooks spoiling the soup, so to speak. That's what makes DC so great: pure objectivity. All we have to do is come up with a goal and some program code for finding it. The computers involved will do the rest, and without the threat of skewing results or anything like that...

Let's spread the word to everyone to hop on the BOINC bandwagon. Then there'll be no worry about humans trying to solve problems better left to the computer... :)


As you can see by my stats I too believe in Boinc!! However I do also believe in Distributed Thinking in the way that sometimes I will be trying to solve a problem and then by talking to someone else about it they come up with a whole different thought process and that will help me solve it. Kind of like the the tv show House, it is an hour long show about a Doctor in case you have never seen it. Anyway about 45 minutes into the show he talks to someone about something, not necessarily case related, and gets a new way of thinking about something and that little tidbit always helps solve the case! That is what I think of when I think of Distributed Thinking, several people talking and coming up with solutions that each on their own might have taken years to come up with. I do not think of it as meetings necessarily, I dislike meetings unless they are to get everyone on the same page on a project. Going to a meeting to listen to someone tell me about what they are doing that is unrelated to what I do, is not helpful to me.
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Message 64131 - Posted: 22 Nov 2009, 17:14:29 UTC

In the Innocentive link I provided in the OP, they talk about how much of the oil from the Exxon spill in Alaska solidified in the extreme cold, and sank to the bottom and remains there more then 10 years later because we have no way to clean it up. The experts were unable to find a way to do it. But Innocentive tossed the idea out to a diverse group of people and was willing to consider all comers. A guy from the construction industry came up with a solution that is being used right now to recover the sludge and clean the environment. Did he make millions of dollars on licenses for a new patent?? No. He made $20,000, much of which he used to visit the site where they are actually implementing his idea. He wanted to see it in action.

So, not only was a solution found to a problem that was believed unsolvable, but the price of $20,000 was nothing compared to the costs of all of the experts that had failed prior to that.

There simply is no way to achieve innovation in a computer program. By definition, it only does what it was programmed to do.

The point is there are specific tasks that benefit from more then one person participating. Indeed, BOINC has enabled BOSSA for just such projects. One distributed think project was run by NASA. They have telescope images which detail millions of galaxies and they wanted to build a database of which ones are spiral galaxies and which are ellipical. So they put together some material to teach folks how to distinguish the difference and then presented them with images and they selected the classification they deemed appropriate. The selections of several users were combined and if everyone had the same perspective, the selection was accepted. If not, it was deferred to an expert for review.

The scientists may have viewed this as sort of a fool's arrand, because what difference does it really make if we classify them incorrectly? But the volunteers took it very seriously and didn't want to mess up the science by giving an incorrect answer.

The volunteers helped the scientists realize there are actually three types of galaxies. Spiral, elliptical, and "irregular". This never could have happened with a computer program. Indeed, if human experts were tasked with it, they would have maintained the opinion that what they were taught in school is true, there are only two galaxy types. And in the 5 seconds they would have spent on each of the millions they have to do, they would have picked one of the two possible choices.

Why do they need us?
"The simple answer is that the human brain is much better at recognising patterns than a computer can ever be. Any computer program we write to sort our galaxies into categories would do a reasonable job, but it would also inevitably throw out the unusual, the weird and the wonderful. To rescue these interesting systems which have a story to tell, we need you."

http://technocrat.net/d/2007/7/11/23050/

So, in addition to taking more then 5 seconds, using a computer program would have limited the potential for discovery.

I've been reading a rather slow book, but it has some real points of insight. It is called "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki. He outlines specific conditions where a crowd of amateurs can work together to produce a better result then a group of experts. But they really have no way to study innovation in a mannar that is scientifically significant, so you have to sort of make the leap to that on your own. I mean you only innovate something the first time, so by definition, any experiment would not be reproducable.
Add this signature to your EMail:
Running Microsoft's "System Idle Process" will never help cure cancer, AIDS nor Alzheimer's. But running Rosetta@home just might!
https://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/
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Message boards : Cafe Rosetta : Distributed Thinking



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