Many years ago, I started a project called WCG Online. The idea of this project was to promote the World Community Grid initiative.
When you become a World Community Grid volunteer, you donate your device’s spare computing power to help scientists solve the world’s biggest problems in health and sustainability.
And that’s it in a nutshell; install their software on your laptop, computer or phone, sign up to the research projects you’re interested in (or all of them) and it’ll automatically download chunks of data, process them, and then upload the results.
At one point, I had 8 different devices processing results, and it felt good to be contributing. I had this grand idea that I’d be able to use their API to get a better overview of what the different devices were doing, how much I was contributing to different projects, etc. And I thought other people would get a kick out of it too.
[wcg.onl] is designed to give you, a valued member of the community, access to some more detailed statistics, as well as some lovely pretty graphs.
Unfortunately, the API wasn’t very feature rich, and it made plotting interesting charts rather difficult. And over time, I’ve ended up with no devices currently running the software.
I first signed up on 19th December 2014, and over the 6 or so years I’ve contributed to 12 different projects, including Mapping Cancer Markers, Outsmart Ebola Together, FightAIDS and OpenPandemics COVID-19. Because I was using multiple devices, I clocked up a pretty impressive (even if I do say so myself) 16.9 years of run time donated.
Although I had no analytics on the site, clearly some people were finding it because people were using my recruitment link, which was only published on this site. There are currently only 4 users still actively contributing though.
WCG Online was written in PHP on the backend, still my go-to for all my projects, and jQuery Mobile on the frontend – yeah, back when that was a thing! The site doesn’t work properly and would need a major overhaul on the frontend, but due to the limited API and a definite lack of time on my part, I feel that it is time to sunset this little project. The last time I updated this project was 4 years ago, when I moved it from HTTP to HTTPS.
Contributing to World Community Grid is something I would definitely like to get back to at some point in the future, but this is goodbye to WCG Online, my old friend.