AIMS workshop on Volunteer Computing
16-22 July, 2007
Project at a glance
Dates and Place: 16 - 22 July 2007, Muizenberg
(Cape Province), South Africa.
Organizers: Organised and sponsored by the Africa@home partnership.
The AIMS workshop on Volunteer Computing for Africa will introduce
participants to state-of-the-art open source software technologies behind
distributed computing and cyber-volunteerism on the Internet. Participants
will gain hands-on experience with these technologies, so that they can
harness the power of volunteer computers worldwide for their own research
or to support research of their colleagues in universities and research
labs across Africa. Volunteer computing is a new and rapidly growing trend
that can help in efforts to tackle some of the major humanitarian challenges
faced by Africa, and can also bridge the digital divide by putting African
researchers at the centre of international humanitarian projects.
How to apply
Application forms are available at the
and should be sent in by
Applications should include a CV and suitable academic recommendations
to assist selection. Students should have programming experience and be
familiar with both Linux and Windows environments. Preference will be given
to candidates who will be able to return to their home institutes and teach
and apply the technology there.
Travel expenses, board and lodging will be paid for all students accepted.
Some assistance can be given for visa applications to South Africa for the
duration of the workshop. Please allow sufficient time for visa formalities.
The workshop will focus on the most popular platform for volunteer computing
today, BOINC, which stands for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for
Network Computing. BOINC allows volunteer computers in homes and
offices to run
computer-intensive simulation programs such as MalariaControl.net,
developed by researchers at the Swiss Tropical Institute. This
was made possible through
the multi-stakeholder partnership called Africa@home, which involves
CERN, the University of Geneva, the World Health Organization, several African
academic institutions, the Swiss Tropical Institute, ICVolunteers
and Informaticiens sans frontières (ISF), with the support of the
Geneva International Academic Network
The first phase of Africa@home (2005 and 2006) was an opportunity to help
the Swiss Tropical Institute obtain the needed computer power to run their
malaria modelling program called MalariaControl.net.
Since day one of the Africa@home project, it has involved African researchers
in the different aspects of the project, aiming to ultimately build poles
of expertise in different parts of Africa (involving to date cyber-volunteers
from Mali, Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Centre Afrique, Tanzania, Spain
The objective of the second phase of Africa@home is to use the BOINC technology
for other computer applications, such as those linked to research about
HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
It is in this context that a workshop will be organized at the African
Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Muizenberg (Cape Province),
from 16 to 22 July 2007.
Monday 16 July: Introduction to the general aspects of volunteer
computing, relevance to different scientific tasks, and client
side of volunteer computing .
Tuesday 17 July: Objective is for participants to
familiarise themselves with a number of open source components used to
run volunteer computing
Wednesday 18 July: Objective is step by step walk through of
building client and server, including typical debugging issues .
Thursday 19 July: Analyse and plan porting of a new project
to volunteer computing.
Friday 20 July: Review and test knowledge acquired during
workshop, get feedback on suitability of workshop format,
steps for participants.
Sat-Sun 21-22 July: Debriefing with AIMS, planning of
future activities with AIMS, SACEMA and other Africa@home