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Highlights from the Crowd Computing 2014 event

The organizers from the IDGF and AlmereGrid Foundations look back on a successful Crowd Computing 2014 event. The IDGF meeting welcomed 22 participants, including 3 remote presentations from IDGF members and the Workshop on Citizen Science Technology Platforms had 26 attendants, including 4 remote presenters.

The IDGF meeting concentrated on topics that are of direct interest to the member organisations of IDGF, especially those who operate Desktop Grids or Crowd Computing as we call it today. This year the focus was on 3 themes for Desktop Grid/Crowd computing operators and users: financial aspects, managing and operations, and communication, especially with citizens.

One of the new topics that emerged during the workshop on Citizen Science Technology Platforms was browser based Crowd Computing. Modern browsers have mostly implemented a very fast JavaScript engine. JavaScript programmes cannot only be used to calculate items to be displayed on the web page, but can do some rather heavy computational lifting these days. Several approaches and packages were discussed during the event. Philip Skinner talked about the browser based platform. Pedro Fonseca explained browser powered distributed computing, available at There is also research going on in browser based computing platforms, as Reginald Cushing, University of Amsterdam, showed in his presentation about Distributed Computing on Browsers. The presenters also gave demos showing the technology is already a reality.

There were also several presentations with more information on financing Crowd computing. Charity Engine provided a working business model for commercial Crowd computing. Peter Hanappe summarized IDGF findings for volunteer based Crowd computing. He also looked at Green IT aspects, and introduced a measurement programme to collect data on the power usage and efficiency of applications running in Crowd computing.

The embedding of Crowd Computing in general frameworks that are used for instance in Smart City design and sensor clouds was discussed by Antonio Puliafito. There are more and more sensors, in the emerging Internet of Things, collecting more and more data. Frameworks are needed to collect, analyse and use this sensor data.

Probably the best example of an integrated use of all kinds of resources was given by David Wallom of Oxford university. Their Climate Prediction programme involves citizens, crowd computing platforms and federated Clouds. Because of the direct impact that Climate has on people's lives, it is easy to mobilise a lot of citizens, providing you do it on the right way.

The slides and video-taped presentations are available at:

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