A collaborative citizen science platform for real-time volunteer computing and games

Poonam Yadav, Ioannis Charalampidis, Jeremy Cohen, John Darlington, Francois Grey

Volunteer computing (VC) or distributed computing projects are common in the citizen cyberscience (CCS) community and present extensive opportunities for scientists to make use of computing power donated by volunteers to undertake large-scale scientific computing tasks. Volunteer computing is generally a non-interactive process for those contributing computing resources to a project whereas volunteer thinking (VT) or distributed thinking, which allows volunteers to participate interactively in citizen cyberscience projects to solve human computation tasks. In this paper we describe the integration of three tools, the Virtual Atom Smasher (VAS) game developed by CERN, LiveQ, a job distribution middleware, and CitizenGrid, an online platform for hosting and providing computation to CCS projects. This integration demonstrates the combining of volunteer computing and volunteer thinking to help address the scientific and educational goals of games like VAS. The paper introduces the three tools and provides details of the integration process along with further potential usage scenarios for the resulting platform.

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