A recent article in the economist highlighted the potential of volunteer computing projects, such as SETI@home, to utilize the ram power and brain power of the masses. This excerpt highlights a particularly interesting project (Africa@home) to classify remotely sensed data. The article also introduces BOSSA, a software made at Berkeley to integrate the skills of many volunteers over the Internet. "Bossa nova To lower the barrier to entry for projects like this, Dr Anderson recently launched a new open-source platform called BOSSA (Berkeley Open System for Skill Aggregation), which aims to do for “distributed thinking” what BOINC has done for distributed computing. One of Dr Anderson's first customers for BOSSA is Peter Amoako-Yirenkyi of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, who is working with other African researchers and a research group called UNOSAT, which processes digital-satellite data for various United Nations agencies. The project, which is part of an initiative called Africa@home co-ordinated by the University of Geneva, will enlist volunteers to extract useful cartographic information—the positions of roads, villages, fields and so on—from satellite images of regions in Africa where maps either do not exist or are hopelessly out of date. This will help regional planning authorities, aid workers and scientists documenting the effects of climate change. Dr Amoako-Yirenkyi is excited by the prospects such projects open up for African researchers. “We can leapfrog expensive data centres, and plug directly into a global computer,” he says. Rather than fretting about a digital divide, researchers in developing countries stand to benefit from this digital multiplication effect."