I’ll admit that I don’t turn my computer off when I leave my desk. I usually have some reason or another: I’m planning on coming right back, I’ve got a ton of windows open for something I’m working on, etc. So it might stay on for hours or even days before I get back to it. My husband’s computer is set to go into sleep mode when he leaves it, which works for him. I’ve never managed to get mine to do that properly. Building your own PC does have its drawbacks.
Yesterday I found out about the World Community Grid projects by IBM. The WCG uses distributed computing to attempt to solve huge problems that would require banks and banks of computers and dozens of years to solve. Instead of investing the money in that infrastructure and the time that we really would rather not have to spend waiting for answers, IBM uses thousands of computers around the world to carry that computing load. And the people who own that computer pay the electricity to run the computer. Basically, when you walk away and the screensaver comes up, the WCG uses your computer to try to solve massive problems. Like AIDS, Childhood Cancer, and Muscular Dystrophy.
If you’re like me, and you leave your computer running, why not put that wasted power to good use and try to save the world?