Crowdsourced Computing Finds High Tech Solution to Water Purification Challenge

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Crowdsourced Computing Finds High Tech Solution to Water Purification Challenge

by RP Siegel

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800M people have no access to clean #water. This supercomputer could change that http://bit.ly/1Mq2Jt8 via @Justmeans @RPSiegel
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - 8:00am

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Generally speaking, electronic circuits and water don’t get along too well, though, in fact, they enjoy a complex and somewhat interdependent relationship. A somewhat novel example of that relationship became apparent recently as scientists at China’s Tsinghua University and Israel’s Tel-Aviv University used a virtual supercomputer to discover some unexpected and useful properties of nanotubes for highly effective water filtration systems.

The virtual supercomputer was the result of a kind of crowd computing, where as many as 150,000 individuals volunteered the use of their computers in pursuit of a significant problem facing a great many people. Indeed, according to CDC, as many as 800 million people have no access to clean water, while 2.5 billion live in unsanitary conditions. This is a leading cause of death in many areas.

The virtual supercomputing capability allowed researchers to probe the behavior of nanotubes when subjected to minute vibrations known as phonons, which are generally associated with heat. It turns out these vibrations can enhance the movement of water through very tiny openings in a filter constructed of nanotubes. The result is a highly effective filter that can potentially be used for both purification and desalination.

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​Image courtesy of World Community Grid

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post.

Keywords: Environment | Computing for Clean Water | IBM | Innovation & Technology | Justmeans | Tel-Aviv University | Tsinghua University | Water | World Community Grid

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