Join the ViP project
The ambitious character of this project may conduct to large-scale simulations either through the extensive investigation of the parameter space and the use of optimization procedures in evolutionary computing such as genetic algorithms. For one individual, a coarse approximation of the parameter space requires of the order of 1000 000 simulations which should take 10 years on a single PC. The study of one evolutionary path should take of the order of a year at least on a single PC. The complexity of the simulation is about two orders of magnitude higher for a prairie.
Through volunteer computing, a run that can take advantage of the idle time on 10000 PCs during a month should bring new results in the ecology of a prairie that has never been accessible in the past. These cost effective large scale simulations may be achieved via parallel web-computing using idle time on standard broad PC network.
This project uses the plateform BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) which is a middleware system for volunteer computing, originally developed to support the SETI@home project, but intended to be useful for other applications in areas as diverse as mathematics, medicine, molecular biology, climatology, and astrophysics. The ViP project is the only one in ecology using the BOINC plateform.