The recent combination of using old web technologies into the new buzzword AJAX and more interactive web applications like TiddlyWiki and the well known way how Seti@Home utilizes spare CPU power inspired me into a new idea.
Well, surely not new because I doubt that nobody has thought on that before but new in the sense that I never read or heard of something like that before.
So without further distractions I'll tell you my idea:
The advantages I see in this approach are:
- Keeping everything contained in one webpage lowers the entry barrier for possible participants quite a bit. Just loading a page is much easier than installing a separate application.
Of course every coin has two sides, I see also disadvantages:
- The computation has to deal with possible interruptions at any time by closing the browser, changing the webpage or something else.
But for some of those problems I can imagine possible solutions or at least workarounds:
- The single-thread problem could possibly be solved in the same way as the slowness-problem: through the use of plugins.
- Closing the browser shouldn't destroy the computation results. I expect this is what the onUnload-procedure is for but this has to be evaluated.
All in all I think this is surely something to evaluate. The slower computation in comparison to native but independend applications could be compensated by the much smaller entry-barrier and therefore greater possible participants base. The possible application of such a system is probably limited to smaller mathematical things and not big data-crushing but I may be wrong on that.
I think AJAX-techniques combined with embedded Java-applets on such a page provide the greatest flexibility and platform independence compared to other solutions.