by Tiranee Achalakul, King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi, Thailand. Published: 24 March 2015

In recent years, smart phones and tablets have become increasingly powerful and rising quickly in popularity. The statistics from Morgan Stanley research has revealed that there were over 1.5 billion smartphone users in 2014.  Moreover, a study1  has been performed to evaluate the charging behaviour of the smart phone users.  The results showed that the users were unlikely to be actively using the phone at night and that the users left the phone plugged-in on an average of 7 hours each night. With this information, we, the researchers at KMUTT saw an opportunity to tap into these unused CPU cycles.  The key idea is to create a volunteered mobile computing platform for the technological advancement in Sciences.  Our platform is called “White Rabbit”. 

With White Rabbit untapped computing power of smartphones can be aggregated and exploited to help calibrate the TOF particle detector for the ALICE experiments. In addition, the platform will create a new education channel to promote ALICE to the general public in Geneva as well as in Asian countries.  The smartphones users can download and install White Rabbit, then choose to accept the request from CERN to temporary take over their phone CPU’s cycles at their preferred time. With this idea, many of the computationally intensive tasks at CERN can be offloaded to the smartphones. People can easily make a donation to the advancement of sciences in a CPU currency and let White Rabbit bring ALICE home to them.

On a small technical note, we plan to implement the White rabbit platform based on BOINC, which is a well-known volunteer computing middleware. The KMUTT team, will work in collaboration with Pierre Vande Vyvre’s team to create a lightweight version of BOINC for mobile devices.  A resource manager will be designed to handle the client device connections as well as to schedule the jobs based on devices’ availability, network speed and CPU power. Partial computing results will be periodically collected, aggregated, and submitted for the physicists to use in their experiments.   

In addition to CPU cycle donations with White Rabbit, people can also learn a bit about particle physics through our edutainment module. We plan to make it fun and worthwhile for the participants.  Campaign may be organized later on around the platform’s donors. In summary, White Rabbit will connect ALICE to the young generation and share with them the wonderland of CERN.

 

1) M. Arslan, 2012, Computing While Charging: Building a Distributed Computing Infrastructure Using Smartphones, Proceedings of the 8th international conference on emerging networking experiments and technologies, pp. 193-204.