How IBM World Community Grid Is Helping Cure AIDs Cancer & World Hunger

How IBM World Community Grid Is Helping Cure AIDs Cancer & World Hunger

IBM’s virtual supercomputer is tapping the unused processors of half a million people to speed up critical scientific research.

Tuberculosis Knows No Boundaries

Tuberculosis Knows No Boundaries

One-third of the world’s population harbors the tuberculosis bacterium, and the disease killed 1.5 million people in 2014, making it one of the world’s deadliest diseases. You can help researchers learn more about this disease and how to overcome it.   Learn More    Contribute to this Project


AIDS is constantly evolving.

AIDS is constantly evolving.

So are the tools to fight it. Since 2005, the volunteers behind FightAIDS@Home have helped scientists advance HIV research. The next phase of that effort is just beginning, and you can play a key role in helping the millions of people afflicted by this deadly virus.   Learn More    Contribute to this Project


Improving access to clean water for millions

Improving access to clean water for millions

With the help of World Community Grid volunteers, scientists have discovered a new phenomenon that could pave the way to more affordable, efficient water filters. Learn More    Contribute to this Project


Help improve the odd for cancer patients

Help improve the odd for cancer patients 

Early and accurate detection saves lives. Power the search for molecular markers that will help researchers detect cancer earlier and design more effective treatments.   Learn More    Contribute to this Project

Let's outsmart Ebola together

Let’s outsmart Ebola together 

Ebola is a deadly virus that kills up to 90% of infected victims. Finding
an antiviral drug is essential to combating this significant global health threat.
Donate your computing power to help scientists find the most promising
drug leads to fight the Ebola virus.   Learn More    Contribute to this Project



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How IBM’s World Community Grid Is Helping Cure AIDs, Cancer, and World Hunger 

IBM’s virtual supercomputer is tapping the unused processors of half a million people to speed up critical scientific research.


VOLUNTEERING: When Lauren Moran isn’t typing on her laptop, it’s busy with heavy-duty computations for medical research projects. 


Accelerate research with no investment of time or money. 

When you become a World Community Grid volunteer, you donate your device’s spare computing power to help scientists solve the world’s biggest problems in health and sustainability.  Be part of the next discovery


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download WCG


AT GRID HQ: “We’re opening up the field of bioinformatics,” says IBM VP Robin Willner. 


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For the past four years, Lauren Moran has devoted herself to groundbreaking cancer research, chronicling the fickle interaction between molecules and proteins. Despite having a full-time job — “stat geek” on the New York Yankees’ media relations staff — Moran screens drug candidates daily. And continuously. She conducts experiments while talking on the phone to her parents, attending games at Yankee Stadium, and watching episodes of The Office in her Bronx apartment. Even in the dead of night.


When she’s not trying to cure cancer, she’s busy cracking other monumental problems: AIDS. World hunger. Clean energy. It’s a breathtaking portfolio for a 24-year-old communications major who didn’t take a single chemistry or biology class in college.


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Moran is a new breed of innovator: a citizen researcher on IBM’s World Community Grid (WCG), an unprecedented effort to deploy ordinary people’s idle computers to create a free, open-source lab for researchers around the globe. Massive computational research is broken down into discrete problems and distributed across a vast network. Since the tech giant launched the nearly $2-million-a-year project in November 2004, more than half a million people in 218 countries have volunteered some 1.5 million laptops and desktops. In raw computing power, the grid is comparable to a top-10 supercomputer. The average PC would take more than 328,000 years to complete the grid’s calculations so far.


The grid, says researcher Alán Aspuru-Guzik, an assistant professor of chemistry at Harvard, “gives you the opportunity to do something nobody else has done. Something disruptive.”


Moran’s laptop displays a screen saver of her latest WCG assignment, but the science, she admits, is “way over my head. I just know when I’m not using my computer, it’s crunching numbers that could lead to a cure.”


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Most of us use our computers about as efficiently as we use our brains: We scratch the surface, never tapping the full potential. WCG exploits this unused computing power by borrowing — with the owner’s permission — a machine’s central processing unit to do some serious math. It works unobtrusively, when you aren’t working. You download software that takes advantage of any break, from a phone call to a pause while you’re thinking of what to type next. The instant your fingers touch the keys, the calculations cease.


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 At IBM, a full-time staff of seven — dispersed across the country, from Beaverton, Oregon, to Austin — makes sure that the projects’ individual applications are running smoothly, that the grid is assigning work and returning results to the appropriate lab, that problems aren’t cropping up in the online member forums, and that software for upcoming projects is being vetted.


Using this powerful new tool, AIDS researchers at Scripps Research Institute are generating new drug leads to combat the growing strains of drug-resistant HIV. French scientists are learning more about the proteins behind muscular dystrophy. (Partly because of that project, the lead researcher, Alessandra Carbone, was recently named the “Woman Scientist of the Year” by the French government.) Scientists at the University of Washington are compiling a comprehensive map of rice proteins, which could help developing countries grow more nutritious, higher-yield crops. A team led by the Cancer Institute of New Jersey used the grid to develop algorithms that identify subtle signatures in digitized cancer tissues that could lead to early, accurate, and rapid detection; the results convinced the National Institutes of Health to award the team $2.5 million to expand the database.


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WCG, which hosted one project its first year, now runs a half dozen or more simultaneously. The latest: In hopes of discovering new organic electronic materials that could lead to cheaper solar cells, Aspuru-Guzik is screening about 2 million chemical compounds for photovoltaic properties. That’s roughly 20,000 times more compounds than he could analyze on a single computer. And the project will take only a couple of years, instead of two decades.


“We’re opening up the field of bioinformatics,” says Robin Willner, IBM’s vice president of global community initiatives, including WCG.


“There’s nothing else out there like this.”


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How IBM’s World Community Grid Is Helping Cure AIDs, Cancer, and World Hunger


Accelerate research with no investment of time or money. 

When you become a World Community Grid volunteer, you donate your device’s spare computing power to help scientists solve the world’s biggest problems in health and sustainability.  Be part of the next discovery


For her senior project at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, Moran went door-to-door, installing the WCG program. She and her classmates persuaded the college president to send a campus-wide email encouraging participation. The campaign slogan: “When doing nothing is doing something.” It wasn’t a tough sell. “I think everybody would like to do more volunteer work, but they don’t have the time,” Moran says. “This is easy, even for the busiest people.”


Berstis and his colleagues realize that for many volunteers, joining WCG is more gratifying than writing a check to fund research. It’s an opportunity to participate, to feel a part of the scientific journey toward a life-changing solution.


That’s why project names have evolved from the esoteric (Human Proteome Folding) to the inspirational (Help Conquer Cancer, the Clean Energy Project, and FightAids@Home).


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For developer Larry Mezias, one of more than 109,000 IBM employees on the grid, FightAids@Home is deeply personal. His cousin died of the disease in the early 1990s. The screen saver on his home computer means he is doing something on behalf of his cousin — funny, easygoing Tony. “It makes me feel good,” Mezias says. “I feel like I’m giving some meaning to the loss in my family.” And some hope for a breakthrough in the future.


download WCG


 

“Looking for aliens is great, but let’s cure cancer”


Many companies run in-house grids on their employees’ machines, but a network of WCG’s size and scope wasn’t feasible until recently. “Back in the ’70s, we were thinking, What if we could do this?” says Viktors Berstis, a 33-year IBM veteran and WCG’s chief scientist. Divvying up data processing to the public around the planet wasn’t practical until enough computers were connected to the Web, connections were high speed, and machines’ processors were powerful enough to hammer through dense algorithms rapidly.

 

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Just another way to Make a Difference!

Volunteer today…. Click here http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/


Accelerate research with no investment of time or money. 

When you become a World Community Grid volunteer, you donate your device’s spare computing power to help scientists solve the world’s biggest problems in health and sustainability.  Be part of the next discovery

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