The ideas of using geographically distributed resources in a secure way (Network-Internet/Grid computing), providing self-management capabilities (Autonomic computing), quantifying and billing computing costs (Utility computing), in order to perform specific modular applications (web services), have been grouped altogether into the concept of Cloud computing. Only commercial Cloud solutions have been implemented so far, offering computing resources and (web) services for renting. Some interesting projects, such as Nimbus, OpenNEbula, Reservoir, work on Cloud. One of their aims is to provide a Cloud infrastructure able to provide and share resources and services for scientific purposes. The encouraging results of Volunteer computing projects such as SETI@home and FOLDING@home and the great flexibility and power of the emergent Cloud technology, suggested us to address our research efforts towards a combined new computing paradigm we named Cloud@Home, merging the benefits and overcoming the weaknesses of both the original computing paradigms. In this paper we present the Cloud@Home paradigm, describing its contribution to the actual state of the art on the topic of distributed and Cloud computing. We thus detail the functional architecture and the core structure implementing such a new paradigm, demonstrating how it is really possible to build up a Cloud@Home infrastructure.
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