When I was in my 20s, and studying Physics for my undergraduate degree I started looking into ways I could contribute to the basis of scientific knowledge in my spare time. I know…I know get out just a little more. Bear with me a moment.
Someone (probably one of my classmates) told me about this computer screensaver I could install called SETI@HOME. In other words, the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence at home. You could install it on your computer and use your unused CPU cycles to search through radio astronomy data for signs of aliens on other planets. It was run by some people at The University of California, Berkley, and was a really interesting idea.
No, I didn’t find anything but I found the concept interesting. Using unused computer cycles to do useful things. Over the years I have kept other types of these programs installed, and there are now a growing list you can participate in through BOINC (Berkley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing).
These guys now have dozens of things you can participate in yourself using your computers unused CPU cycles. If you are the one that finds something interesting they do alert you, and you will find some competitive people who want to be “the one” to find whatever it is that the particular project is chasing.
In recent years I have become really interested in World War 2, as well as Viet Nam History. This spawns from the work on two different historic fiction novels. The Forest of Assassins, and China Bones (both available on Amazon in print, kindle and audible versions).
That passion is now something I can devote my unused computer cycles to! Enigma machines were these little boxes that the German military used to code and decode messages that they didn’t want the Allies to intercept and use. In other words they carried some of the most secret stuff across the communications channels that the Germans had.
Well, the guys at BOINC now have Enigma@Home (http://www.enigmaathome.net/). As it turns out there are still 3 original Enigma messages that have never been decoded. Even all these decades later. I am personally using lots of my unused computer cycles to help and I encourage you, dear reader, to do the same.
If I can help decode one and there is something juicy in it, who knows maybe there will be a new historic fiction novel in the works. But, for now, enjoy China Bones if you like WW2 history. You will find it a nice read!