Trivia

Hard

What Was The First Volunteer Distributed Computing Project?

GIMPS
SETI@home
BitCoin
Folding@home
Etched artwork of Marin Mersenne.
Public Domain/Wikimedia

Answer: GIMPS

Although SETI@home—the University of California, Berkeley project that has enlisted tens of thousands of computers across the world to analyze data from the Arecibo Observatory Radio Telescope and the Green Bank Telescope—most certainly put the idea of distributed computing on the map for most geeks, it wasn’t the first project of its kind.

Three years prior to the start of the SETI@home project was the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) project. Started in 1996, GIMPS was (and remains) focused on using distributed computing power to find Mersenne prime numbers—prime numbers that are one less than a power of two, and named after the French priest and polymath Marin Mersenne (seen in the artwork here). As of May 2020, the project has a sustained average aggregate throughput of approximately 1.17 PetaFLOPS (or PFLOPS) and has discovered 17 Mersenne prime numbers (bringing the known total to 51).

Since the GIMPS project, distributed computing has been used for all manner of projects including SETI@home (analysis of extraterrestrial signals), Folding@home (simulated protein folding, computational drug design, and other types of molecular dynamics), Bitcoin (decentralized currency), and even Electric Sheep (for animating and evolving fractal flames, which are distributed and displayed as screensavers).

Trivia

Hard

Maps That Are Geometrically Distorted To Display Related Data Are Called?

Trivia

Very Hard

Which Country Is The Largest Exporter Of Cigars In The World?

Trivia

Easy

Which Animal Isn’t Poisonous When Raised In Captivity?

Trivia

Hard

Which Sci-Fi Antagonists Were, Allegorically, Nazis?

Trivia

Hard

What Early PC Had An Unofficial “Sound Card” Driven By Excessive Radio Interference?

Trivia

Hard

Website Security CAPTCHA Forms Are Descended From the Work of?

Trivia

Hard

The Working Title For The Hit Netflix Show ‘Stranger Things’ Was Originally?

Trivia

Hard

Which Country Has The Largest Number Of Lost Tribes?

Trivia

Hard

A Heat Burst Is An Incredibly Rare Atmospheric Phenomenon Associated With?

Trivia

Hard

Which Widely Used Service Was Originally Viewed As A Hoax?