Neues ProjektOPTIMA@HOME is a research project that uses Internet-connected computers to solve challenging large-scale optimization problems. The goal of optimization is to find a minimum (or maximum) for a given function. This topic is perfectly explained in the Internet. See for example excellent explanation by Arnold Newumaier. Many practical problems are reduced to the global optimization problems. At the moment this project runs an application that is aimed at solving molecular conformation problem. This is a very challenging global optimization problem consisting in finding the atomic cluster structure that has the minimal possible potential energy. Such structures plays an important role in understanding the nature of different materials, chemical reactions and other fields. The details about the problem can be found here. You can participate by downloading and running a free program on your computer.
OPTIMA@HOME is based at Institute for Systems Analysis of Russian Academy of Sciences, department of Distributed Computing - a founding member of the International Desktop Grid Federation.