In a special edition of Digital Planet from the Citizen Cyberscience Summit in London, Gareth Mitchell finds out how volunteers are enabling scientists to make important discoveries. The model that group thinking can arrive at solutions to complex problems is being applied to computers. Organisations are turning to citizen scientists who volunteer their time and computing power to find answers to problems that would otherwise require funding for supercomputers.
Gareth Mitchell hears from a citizen scientist who has discovered a galaxy. He also learns about a project in Ghana which is drawing on volunteers' computers to help build more accurate and detailed maps for Africa. There is news of the scientists whose collaboration with volunteers has enabled them to run thousands of climate prediction models thereby reducing the risks of inaccuracy and potentially identifying dangers much earlier. And finally delegates debate whether the interaction of humans and computers is leading to a new way of thinking.