Citizen Science Grid

The Citizen Science Grid is run by Travis Desell, an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of North Dakota. It is hosted by UND's Computational Research Center and Information Technology Systems and Services. The Citizen Science Grid is dedicated to supporting a wide range of research and educational projects using volunteer computing and citizen science, which you can read about and visit below.


The Subset Sum problem is described as follows: given a set of positive integers S and a target sum t, is there a subset of S whose sum is t? It is one of the well-know, so-called "hard" problems in computing. It's actually a very simple problem computationally, and the computer program to solve it is not extremely complicated. What's hard about it is the running time – all known exact algorithms have running time that is proportional to an exponential function of the number of elements in the set (for worst-case instances of the problem).


The goal of DNA@Home is to discover what regulates the genes in DNA. Ever notice that skin cells are different from a muscle cells, which are different from a bone cells, even though all these cells have every gene in your genome? That's because not all genes are "on" all the time. Depending on the cell type and what the cell is trying to do at any given moment, only a subset of the genes are used, and the remainder are shut off. DNA@home uses statistical algorithms to unlock the key to this differential regulation, using your volunteered computers.


Wildlife@Home is citizen science project aimed at analyzing video gathered from various cameras recording wildlife. Currently the project is looking at video of sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus, and two federally protected species, interior least terns, Sternula antillarum, and piping plovers, Charadruis melodus to examine their nesting habits and ecology.

Climate Tweets

The Climate Tweets project is focused on personal opinions about climate change or global warming. The goal is to sort tweets and view the different views in various countries, how the discussion has changed over time, and how opinions change with political orientation. Classifying tweets allows us to discover patterns and coorelations in people's opinions about our world. It also helps us understand what people know about climate change. Please note that the tweets are unfiltered and may contain profanity or controversial views, and these are not the views of the Citizen Science Grid, any of our team, or funding agencies. Because of this the project is 18+.

User of the Day

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Profile [AF>Amis des Lapins]CeDriCXD
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[wildlife] new runs

I've started up a new set of runs. I made some tweaks to the backend to improve accuracy of how we're storing things in the database (found a couple bugs that while not fatal were not giving me the information I wanted). Workunit names look like:


And in this case, the ID will be >= 39 and <= 43. Let me know if you're having any errors with these new workunits.

On another note, I recently submitted a paper to this years IEEE eScience conference. You can take a look at the preliminary draft here:

Our results are starting to get quite good. I also have an application update that should improve things even further -- but want to get a few more data points with the current implementation before doing the update.

Travis Desell on Wednesday, July 12th
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[wildlife] credit reimbursement and credit rate reduction

Sorry for taking a bit long on this, but I've gone through and done a credit reimbursement for the MNIST app which was having the "monster" workunits. I took everyones credit for that app and multiplied it by 1.15 (i.e., a 15% bonus).

On another credit related note, I've dropped the credit awarded from future generated workunits by 10%, as the general consensus is that the credit rate is really high. Let me know what you think about this and I can do some more adjustment if it was not enough (or too much).

Travis Desell on Wednesday, July 12th
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[wildlife] assimilator updates

So it looks like the poor assimilator is struggling under the load of the larger workunits (a good problem to have), which means work generation has been slow. I've made a few updates which I hope will help get things moving faster and more work flowing.

Travis Desell on Tuesday, May 30th
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[wildlife] windows xp connection issues

I tried a fix on my end for those who have been having trouble connecting to the server with Windows XP. The scheduler in the header for the main page of csgrid had listed for the scheduler instead of

Let me know if this fixed anything (or broke anything -- hopefully not)!

Travis Desell on Wednesday, June 7th
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[wildlife] EXACT v0.25 and v0.26

There was a bug I missed in the EXACT v0.25 client which will cause it to crash from over allocating memory. Please abort any WUs running with this version ASAP so they don't eat up all your machines memory. I really apologize, it ran correctly for my local tests but I had missed a call to convert one of the input filenames to it's proper location in the client.

That being said, v0.26 should be running fine. I made quite a few improvements to the code, so now it should require about 1/4th the memory as the v0.24 client (so the CIFAR work units will now take less memory that the MNIST work units from v0.24 and before). It's also running ~2x faster. That and I upgraded the back propagation algorithm to use batch normalization which also means we'll be getting better results from it. Pretty excited to see how it runs.

Travis Desell on Friday, May 26th
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