In a different situation are millions of people around the world. The computers industry is evolving extremely quickly and personal computers are available for constantly decreasing prises. Simultaneously, these machines must be strong enough to fulfil the growing needs of users who want to play the newest games and use resources-demanding programs. However, most of the time such computers spend in the idle state when they are used for simple web-browsing or document-writing. The most of computational power stays unused.As a remedy to both these issues have came the BOINC platform. The innovative infrastructure, which, from one side, serves as the source of huge computational power, and from the other side, gives people the possibility to become involved in huge contemporary science projects utilising their limited resources. BOINC stands for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. This system was used for the first time in year 1999 and afterwards dozens of other projects have came into existence. In 2014 the time came for adopting this idea in polish astronomy projects and, at first, the fundamental problems of the stellar evolution will be solved.
Universe@home project utilises the BOINC platform to perform simulations of evolution of numerous stars. In this way we are able to reproduce the evolution of such stellar populations as whole galaxies consisting of billions of stars. The vast picture that is obtained let the scientists compare the results with all the attainable observational data. Such a massive comparison is far more superior to one made on single system. Investigations made on the whole stellar populations gave us not only the information about their evolution but also about the multiplicity and statistics. This methodology is called population synthesis.The users who downloaded the client program and chose this project to support, will get a small number of systems. They will calculate the whole evolution of this systems, beginning with the ignition of helium synthesis and ending on the formation of compact object. Then they will return the result to the server. Combining this pieces together a reasonable number will be collected and the analysis will be performed by scientists. Finally, results will be published and will become publicly available. With the development of the project more and more subprojects are going to be available, as the number of different problems, which may be explored in this way, is uncountable. Users will be presented with the possibility to choose which one they want to support at the moment. Every subproject will be described on the project webpage and the users will be informed about the partial results.
The head of the team is prof. Krzysztof Belczyński. He works in the Astronomical Observatory University of Warsaw and cooperates with several research groups worldwide. He is the author of about 200 science papers and he supervised a few students who are currently independent scientists. Professor is the first author and coordinator of the development of the StarTrack population synthesis code which is used for the needs of Universe@home project. The code performs the complex evolution of stars and is kept up-to-date with contemporary development in this field of science. StarTrack was used in dozens of projects and basing on its results hundreds of research papers were published. It is one of the best and widely distinguishable population synthesis codes in the astronomical community.Below we present a few of problems currently studied by astronomers, which can be approached with the use of Universe@home project.
The Universe@home is the first project using BOINC infrastructure developed and run in the polish higher education institution. The advanced parallel computing methods are being used for solving contemporary scientific conundrums. This is a great step forward as the method proves to be efficient in multitude of other similar projects abroad.There is no better way of learning than through experience. Currently, a daily life is left far behind the science achievements, schools rarely teach about current problems in science and we have less and less time for reading. Therefore, it is of high importance to find a way to stay in touch with the development. Univserse@home reconnects people, who don't have time or will to conduct any research, to development in our understanding of the nature. Research is worthless for the society if it is not spread among people. It is very important in contemporary world to renew the presence of development and science in our surroundings.
All results of the project will be publicly available. On our webpage we will post all the information about currently running simulations, published results and technical details. Finally, it is planned to provide a huge data base which will serve as a great research tool for other scientist. We will store all the acquired data about the evolution of stars and stellar systems, thus, profits will expand out of the initial range of problems. What is more, the data base will be open to public and will become a great learning and teaching tool. A work done by volunteers will return to them in such a form.Although Univserse@home is the first project of its kind in Poland, we believe that it will show the path for other heavily numerical science projects. Currently it is unimaginable to carry out any research without the use of computers. Complicated simulations, data analysis and controlling of huge detectors - in all these fields strong computers are needed. Not once, however, costs of such machines were far beyond the budget. The volunteer computing comes as a remedy here.