Tuesday, 17 August 2010

We talk to Ben Segal

The summit is even closer now, just over two weeks away. The speakers lined up are amazing and none more so than Ben Segal who has been working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, for 40 years. In that time he has seen the internet grow from a tool used only by scientists to the massive communications network used by the entire globe. He has been a part of many projects that hope to turn the public that uses the network into a resource for science, including LHC@home and Africa@home. Again we were able to collar Dr Segal and get him to answer our questions about the summit.

Why are you coming to the Summit?
I'm coming to meet other enthusiasts and volunteers who want to spread public interest in science. In my own work I have seen the scientific potential of public participation via the Internet. Also I am very excited by the beauty of some of today's Citizen Cyberscience applications and want to see what the future holds.

What are you going to speak about?
I will describe how CERN has used volunteer computing since 2004 to help design the LHC accelerator, and what we are doing today to extend the system to handle much more difficult "real physics" problems. I will also stress that most of this LHC@home system has been built at minimal cost by volunteers and students, in the spirit of the public volunteers who offer their computers to us for solidarity and interest in CERN's research.

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