I’ve used SETI@home from time to time. Donating ones surplus computer power to find aliens gives a fuzzy logic feeling inside.
Computer upgrades, work computers, travelling, bugs, computer games, life and other reasons make it a bit impractical. But I still want to help…
It might not be the most optimized way, but given the large cloud computing platforms out there it should be possible to create a similar service on it. Some platforms, like Google App Engine, give each project a bit of free usage every month. Anything above that has to be paid for, but a limit can be set beforehand.
The idea is to create a service that runs in the cloud, and people can donate money to raise the limit. It’s a more convenient way to pay directly for actual research. Website with stats would be a nice addition.