September 16th, 2012, 10:19 AM
We've been working on this question for quite a while, can the small amounts of processing power from the WebWorkers API turn a website into a distributed supercomputer?
So far we've tried a number of experiments with relatively small websites, by including an html line that causes the visitor to request MapReduce problems and solve them, but are still pretty early stage (details on crowdprocess.com). With web workers it can be limited to a small percentage of the processor and not affect performance.
If it works it can be a way to get rid of adds telling me i won an iphone on every website, but we are not yet sure how this will react to latency and Amdahl's Law if it gets scaled up. Has anyone worked with this kind of thing before?
PS: If you want to play around with the Node.JS API for this you can simply contact me (beta, beta, beta...)
September 16th, 2012, 10:32 AM
Theoretically, yes it could. I worked at a social network with hundreds of thousands of simultaneous visitors throughout the day and we experimented a bit with pushing high-complexity tasks like image resizing out to the client.
The problem you may run into is sucking up your clients' battery life. If I'm on my laptop at a cafe and I figure out that the reason my battery only lasts an hour is because your website is forcing me to crack crypto or something else, I'm never coming back. That goes double for my cell phone (which registers as chrome and has web workers enabled).
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September 16th, 2012, 10:41 AM
True, we've limited use to about 0.5 GFLOPS (considerably less than any flash add), and are blocking all recognizable 3G or 4G connections, but still want to make sure that battery use is never a problem.
Originally Posted by ManiacDan
Ideally a button which can turn off processing on the website itself, shouldn't be too hard to do. However we want to use this in the long term for pretty specific applications which people would be happy to do (no crypto or other creepy stuff), we've been talking to researchers who are working on Microbiome Sequencing who seem pretty interested in using this (if it works)
September 16th, 2012, 05:52 PM
If this works, it would be added in addition to ads telling you that you won on iPhone.