Panther Software and Research Company (psr.com), located in South
Carolina (U.S.), mainly does software R&D (i.e., "services", not "retail
products"). Since we're not interested in selling you stuff, we can use
this web page to assist other worthwhile and interesting projects.
Citizen Science projects
There's lots of real science work that is now progressing a lot faster or able
to be a lot more comprehensive because people are volunteering to help collect
and/or sort through data for science efforts they care about. Projects are
usually as simple as taking pictures around your home (e.g., to see what wildlife
is around), or helping analyze or compare pictures (which humans can often do much
better than computers). If you might be interested, check out
SciStarter.com's blog page.
[As of 2014/09/06, their blog page listed project categories, but their main page
Some of these projects use open-source hardware tools from
Public Lab that you might find interesting in
their own right. For example, Public Lab offers a USB-connected spectroscope for
$40 (as of 09/2014) as well as other innovative solutions for otherwise expensive
Distributed computing projects
These projects only require your computer's time. If your computer is on but
frequently idle, and it has an Internet connection at least once in a while, you can donate its
idle time to a distributed computing project. Their software runs at low
priority, so that your work always comes first and only the time your computer
would have been idle is donated.
Many of the distributed computing projects below use Berkeley's
BOINC management software.
Projects using it benefit from having a standardized way of managing work
units among a large number of computers. Volunteers get the ability to
participate in multiple projects if they wish, and can limit run times,
resource use, etc.
BOINC software is available for Android 2.3 and later (via the Google Play
Store), MS Windows(x86 and x64), Mac OS X (PPC and Intel), and Linux(x86
and x64). However, each project's software may have its own limitations as
to which systems it runs on.
Here are just a few of the many distributed computing projects looking for
donated computer time:
- SETI@Home: The Search
for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence can still use volunteers to
process radio telescope data from Arecibo. Uses BOINC.
Einstein@Home, officially called
the All-sky pulsar search, is searching data gathered at Arecibo for
both radio pulsars in binary systems and proof of gravity waves.
E@H software uses BOINC and is available for all the BOINC platforms listed
is run by The (non-profit) Scripps Research Institute. The project uses
the World Community Grid
and has software for Android/ARM, MS Windows, Mac OS/X, and Linux/x86.
Mersenne.org is the home for
GIMPS, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search.
On January 25, 2013, GIMPS member Dr. Curtis Cooper, a professor at the
University of Central Missouri, discovered the 48th known Mersenne
prime, 257,885,161 - 1. GIMPS volunteers have also won the
Electronic Frontier Foundation's $100,000 award for discovery of the
first 10 million digit prime number.
For a good list of other projects, check
Volunteer work (U.S.)
been named as one of the best Activist sites for matching people willing to
volunteer with organizations looking for volunteers. Enter your Zip code
and/or interests and get a list of organizations near you.
Challenges that pay
Are you an inventor or problem solver? NASA press release 10-211 described
challenge.gov this way:
This new online platform empowers the federal government to bring the best
ideas and top talent to bear on the nation's most pressing problems. On
this site, entrepreneurs, innovators and citizen solvers can compete for
prizes by providing novel solutions to tough problems.
In June, 2014, NASA launched the Earth Science Challenges. The challenges use
OpenNEX (Open NASA Earth Exchange). The second "builder" stage began August 22
and offers $10,000, $30,000, and $50,000 prizes for the development of an
application or algorithm that promotes climate resilience using the OpenNEX data,
based on ideas from the first stage of the challenge. NASA will announce the
winners in December. The link above has some online video lectures, hands-on
lab modules, and links to register for the challenges.
- "NASA Solve lists current
opportunities available to the general public to contribute to solving
tough problems related to NASA's mission through challenges, prize
competitions, and crowdsourcing activities." (from the NASA Solve
web page 2014/10/25.)
Also: from Groklaw.net on June, 2009:
The Case Against Software Patents - Red Hat's EPO-G3/08 Amicus Brief
Many other companies, universities, and organizations around the world have
the acronym P.S.R. and/or have an Internet domain name containing the string
"psr". None of them have any affiliation with psr.com, which is solely in
the U.S. For their domain names (if they have one), please refer to their
publications or advertising.