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Old 12-04-2014, 12:18 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
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IBM has engineered a way for everyone to join the fight against Ebola ? by donating processing time on their personal computers, phones or tablets to researchers.

IBM has teamed with scientists at Scripps Research Institute in southern California on a project that aims to combine the power of thousands of small computers, to each attack tiny pieces of a larger medical puzzle that might otherwise require a supercomputer to solve.

"This could let us do in months what it would otherwise take years and years to do," said Erica Ollmann Saphire, a biomedical researcher at Scripps.

The free downloadable software, available at, works on Windows or Mac computers and Android mobile devices, although not Apple Inc.'s iPhone or iPad. Litow said it's designed to only use idle capacity when a device is connected to the Internet. Otherwise it isn't in use, so it won't slow other functions. On mobile devices, the program only works when the device is charging and connected to Wi-Fi, to avoid draining batteries or running up wireless charges.

Users can choose when their device connects to the grid network and whether it should happen automatically, Litow said. IBM also promises to respect volunteers' privacy and says the software can't access or alter any other files on a device.

The grid computing program breaks down large computing problems into thousands of smaller tasks, assigns them to individual devices and then compiles the results. Volunteers can get progress reports on each project, and IBM promises to make the resulting data available to any interested researcher.


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