The winners of the Node Knockout have been announced, and the Chess@home project presents a very interesting concept. It attempts to solve the problem of creating a chess playing AI. Chess AI is a problem that requires a lot of computing power, and Chess@home solves this by using browsers to solve the problems. As a website owner you can add the widget to your page, and each of your visitor’s browser’s will automatically begin computing for Chess@home.
This is much like SETI@home and Folding@home, but doesn’t require you to install any software, or even realize you are contributing at all. It would be interesting to see if the techniques of Chess@home applied to causes like protein folding, and other problems with huge real world implications.
The Chess@home widget does give you the ability to disable the computation as a visitor, but it’s certainly not technically mandatory that a project tells you that you are contributing to a distributed computation network. Does a site have a responsibility to tell you that you are participating in the computations? It will be interesting to see what other projects may appear based on this concept.