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2005-11-23-Internet Project Allows PC Users To Donate Computer Downtime to Researching HIV/AIDS Drugs
FightAIDS@Home - a grid-computing project sponsored by the Scripps Research Institute and IBM - on Monday announced a new program that will allow personal computer users to donate their computer's idle time to help search for new HIV/AIDS drugs, Cox/Contra Costa Times reports. Grid computing -- which distributes small research tasks among thousands of unused, connected computers to work together on a single project -- already is being used to conduct research on human proteins for medical research.
Arthur Olson, a molecular biology professor at La Jolla, Calif.-based Scripps, said FightAIDS@Home hopes to use the computers to analyze thousands of chemical compounds and their reactions to a protein found in HIV. The first part of the project will compare approximately 2,000 compounds to about 200 variations of the HIV protein. Olson said that the compounds the computer finds to be most effective in minimizing reproduction of the virus then will be tested in a laboratory (Ho, Cox/Contra Costa Times, 11/21).
According to Stanley Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation, nearly 100,000 computer users from 160 countries have signed onto the World Community Grid project, which is capable of accommodating up to 10 million computers. "The more people we have, the more power we have, and the more projects the grid can handle," Litow said (Van, Chicago Tribune, 11/21).
Without a supercomputer, the task would take approximately 100 years to finish, the CP/National Post reports (Ubelacker, CP/National Post, 11/21).
Users interested in participating can access worldcommunitygrid.org to download no-cost software, which also displays a 3-D simulation of the compounds being researched and their effects on the HIV protein (Cox/Contra Costa Times, 11/21).