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Project ­ses Crowdsourced Computing to Improve Water Filtration


water droplets

Credit: Quantum Energy Technologies

Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Tsinghua University researchers, working at the new TAU-Tsinghua XIN Center, used IBM's World Community Grid to conduct an experiment in crowdsourced computing, carried out by more than 150,000 volunteers who contributed their own computing power to the research. The researchers used the crowdsourced computing to simulate the flow of water molecules flowing through nanotubes, and found that, under the right conditions, vibrations of water-carrying nanotubes, called phonon oscillations, can produce a 300 percent improvement in the rate of water diffusion.

"We've discovered that very small vibrations help materials, whether wet or dry, slide more smoothly past each other," says TAU professor Michael Urbakh. The breakthrough could enhance water transport and improve water sanitation and desalinization, he says. The research shows crowdsourced computing is playing an increasingly major role in scientific breakthroughs, and that the range of questions that can benefit from public participation is growing all the time, Urbakh says.

The computer simulations were designed by TAU researcher and Tsinghua graduate Ming Ma. "The project represents the very positive cooperation between the two universities, which is taking place at XIN and because of XIN," Urbakh says.

From American Friends of Tel Aviv University
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