June 25, 2008

Akihabara PCs Set to Power International Rice Project

By The Yomiuri Shimbun

Jun. 24--TOKYO -- Beginning Monday, about 100 computers donated by electrical appliance stores in Tokyo's Akihabara district will provide power for a University of Washington rice varieties development project.

The university's project will focus its attention on so-called grid technology. This technology utilizes power from a large number of personal computers around the world, collectively creating the processing power of a supercomputer.

An official from the Akihabara Electric Town Organization, which decided to join the project, said: "It won't be an energy saving project but rather an energy utilization project. We want this to be a special social action, one that only Akihabara can provide."

The Akihabara district contains many electrical appliance shops and consumes a large amount of electricity. Electricity use is a longstanding problem for local shop managers.

About 100 computers on display in Akihabara will have the grid software installed. The Akihabara organization will support, for a week, the University of Washington's project to develop varieties of rice resistant to pests and diseases.

The university is using computers to analyze how proteins in rice plants influence harvest yields and enhance nutritional value of the plant.


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