Today marks the start of a new section on the blog, where I’ll highlight startups I find promising. The first one that was kind enough to talk to me is CrowdProcess. Based in Portugal, it is a distributed computing platform, inspired by SETI@home, and has been growing in the past few months. I came across it at a WordPress meeting in Lisbon last year, where they did a presentation. The premise is a good one, and I believe it has potential.
I talked with Pedro Fonseca, CEO of CrowdProcess. Here’s what he had to say.
What is CrowdProcess and how did the idea come about?
CrowdProcess is a distributed computing platform, that uses web browsers as nodes. It is inspired by the SETI@home project, but is useful for general purpose distributed computing. Instead of installing a client on every node, we reach them through the browser, by adding an iframe to our partner websites, or to companies’ intranets.
What kinds of problems can your platform help solve?
Most problems that are prone to high levels of parallelism, such as Monte Carlo Simulations, Genome Sequencing, etc.
How has the growth process been going so far?
Surprisingly fast. We were joined by over a hundred websites, reaching millions of different nodes so far (over 1.000 at any second), and have been performing computations which would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars on any other platform.
How easy is it to install CrowdProcess for people who own a website?
Insanely easy. It requires only adding an iframe, as happens with Google Analytics. Done in under 2 minutes.
Tell us a bit about you profit sharing plans.
The model is quite simple: we find problems and companies with sufficiently heavy needs for processing power, connect them with the websites, and take a commission. Up to now we have been working with non-profit users in the healthcare and catastrophe simulation space, but will now turn our attention to the potential for-profit users, and soon turn the taps on for the partner websites who believed in us from the start.
How do you counter the privacy concerns users may have?
It is crucial to us that no-one who is uncomfortable with the platform be a part of it. For instance, there is a large need for processing power in the drug discovery space, but someone who is uncomfortable with the pharmaceuticals might not want to be a part of the processing pool. We want every partner website to offer a clear opt in/out system, and will be enforcing this.
There is something to win for everyone: for the websites, a new source of monetization, and for the viewers, an advertising free web. Win-win.
What other startup is currently on your radar and why?
We are very fond of the work done by Codacy (right here in Lisbon), you should definitely check it out too.
Find out more about CrowdProcess at https://crowdprocess.com