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ThinkCycle: Solving World Problems With A Cluster of Brains 161

Posted by timothy
from the hope-some-good-comes-out-of-it dept.
eaglemoon writes: "ThinkCycle is an MIT Media Lab project to apply SETI@Home principles to design problems for underserved communities. Only, intead of donating spare cpu cycles, you donate spare 'think cycles.' Their aim is to build a community of designers, inventors and innovators that want to collaborate on developing novel solutions to some what intractable problems like clean water access , cholera treatment and appropriate shelters. Their aim is to encourage an "open source" ethos for tough design and technology challenges."
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ThinkCycle: Solving World Problems With A Cluster of Brains

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  • by Debillitatus (532722) <devillel2&hotmail,com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @03:04PM (#3532014) Journal
    This sounds pretty good, at least at first. In some sense, this is precisely what the academic paradigm is in the first place. For example, any academic works on problems of this sort, without any expectation of financial compensation, only wanting recognition.

    Looking at it this way, this system is simply a clearinghouse for problems people find interesting. If people work to break these big problems into manageable and concrete pieces, then these little pieces may be perfect for undergraduate or even graduate students to work on. I know that such a clearinghouse would be very valuable in mathematics. I've always imagined that such a thing would exist before too long for the mathematical community, and this would be a good thing.

    The main reason that I think this would be a good thing is that for a young researcher starting out, one has to spend a lot of time understanding the big picture of a certian field, and generating good open problem on one's own. Such a system could bring the problems to the researchers more quickly. This could speed the process up by quite a bit. Such a thing sort of exists already, in the form of preprint servers [lanl.gov], and I'm sure there's more to come! What doesn't really exist now is such a "big picture" fremework in a public domain, IMHO.

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