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Harness Unused Smartphone Power for a Computing Boost

New Scientist (08/29/12) Jacob Aron

Technical University of Braunschweig researchers have found that smartphones can be joined together in a network, which when connected via Wi-Fi, can carry out increased numbers of megaflops.  The researchers joined six low-powered phones and found they could carry out a combined 26.2 million calculations per second.  Although that performance figure is low when compared to the processing power of a modern desktop computer, the research suggests that larger smartphone clusters could be useful.  The system would be most powerful when there are large groups of phones charging at the same time.  “The more people show up, the more computer power you potentially have available,” says University of Bristol researcher Simon McIntosh-Smith.  A business model could be developed to provide incentives for users to join, such as receiving subsidized phones for users who contribute time to the cluster, says Braunschweig researcher Felix Busching.

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