Today at Mobile World Congress, HTC announced an ambitious distributed computing project that would use spare computing cycles to further scientific research. Partnering with the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC), the project would use spare computing cycles to churn through processor-intensive scientific problems, similar to a Samsung project announced earlier this month. The processing load of each individual phone is quite small, but chained together, the phones could be capable of producing supercomputer-level computing power. Under BOINC's guidance, that power could be used to push forward protein-folding problems to research treatments for AIDS or Alzheimer's Disease.
The project will take the form of an app in the Google Play store, initially compatible with all HTC One and HTC Butterfly phones. But the nature of the program also leaves room for expansion, and HTC plans to make the app compatible with more android models after a six-month beta period. As HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang put it, "We want to make it possible for anyone to dedicate their unused smartphone processing power to contribute to projects that have the potential to change the world."