Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Generous Computing

As we've established, my brain is only wrapping around the simplest of ideas these days. (By the way, I will no longer wonder why mental health clients with clinical depression can hardly move. I am in no way clinically depressed. Chronically whining, yes. Technically depressed, no. And I can hardly think or generate energy for new projects. Patience. I will have more patience with other people's challenges!) Given my new and hopefully temporary limitations, I'm opting for a simple justice project today.

This one involves no work on my part. I'm thrilled. The computational power required to analyze some kinds of data, including molecules which need to be screened for cancer research, is massive. The United Devices Cancer Research Project is asking people to volunteer their PCs to help process molecular research being conducted by the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford in England and the National Foundation for Cancer Research. To participate, you simply download a very small, no cost, non-invasive software program that works like a screensaver; it runs when your computer isn't being used and processes research until you need your machine.

There is no impact on your computer use. The project software cannot detect or transfer anything on your machine except project-specific information. It just allows your computer to screen molecules that may be developed into drugs to fight cancer. Each individual computer analyzes a few molecules and then sends the results back for further research. This project is anticipated to be the largest computational chemistry project ever undertaken and represents a genuine hope to find a better way to fight cancer.

It's an interesting cooperative mechanism for research, a simple social justice idea, and easy to download and install. Let's go have a beer, while my computer works on saving lives ;)

1 comment:

Michael said...

I had that one on my old work machine. The one I have running on my laptop is from Climate Prediction.net, and it does global warming modeling.