As my first month in the Gridcoin community has come to an end, I would like to take a look back at my first ever foray into the world of cryptocurrencies. Before June 2017, I was but a Biomedical PhD student with no knowledge of the world of crypto beyond the existence of Bitcoin. I am still learning every day, I am still making mistakes, but the cryptosphere is a place that will be a part of me for the rest of my time on this Earth. Speaking as a scientist, I feel crypto is still at the bleeding edge of science with so many unexplored possibilities. I am excited to see what comes next!
My journey began on a rainy Monday morning in my laboratory in late May, frustrated that the simulations I had set in motion on my research cluster on Friday night were still not completed. I needed these simulations to apply for funding, and this was far from the first time that run-rimes had been holding me back. So, like any sane soul in this day and age, I turned to Google to solve my compute needs.
Before anyone makes the assumption I am well funded, let me clarify - I am not. The funds our lab does receive are through industry sponsorship, which essentially equates to us selling out any IP we develop for money to develop that IP. The world of research is a lot more like a standard day job for a big firm than you might expect... In the wise words of The Upturned Microscope:
Having no money ruled out buying compute cycles from services such as Google Cloud and its competitors. Then, I stumbled across the BOINC platform again. I had been running this piece of software on and off on my home machine for many years, but forgotten about it. This is a distributed compute platform authored by Berkeley in the United States. It enables anyone to outsource their work to volunteer computers all over the globe, where everyday citizens donate their idle clock cycles to research. This was it. Projects involved research for cancer markers, curing Zika, ma...