Thursday, October 9, 2008

How my husband helps cure cancer in his spare time...

This blog entry is written by my husband about a hobby that you can participate in just by leaving your computer on. Please click on the links if you're interested in the topic, they provide much more information than I can provide here. It's very safe, much safer than opening e-mails. Feel free to leave comments if you want more information.

From my husband, Joe.

Almost a year ago I read an article about collaborative computing (definitely read the article in the link). Since then my spare computer that I rebuilt has run almost continuously, processing other people’s data. That’s the idea behind collaborative computing. I allow organizations such as CERN, LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and Ontario Cancer Institute to use my computer to process the huge amounts of data their scientific endeavors create. Projects range from examining chess moves to looking for aliens with hundreds of ideas in between. All of this is controlled using a program called BOINC. If you go here, you can read more about BOINC and how to get involved in collaborative computing.

My personal favourite is Einstien@home through LIGO. I read a book about this project a few years ago and now I am a part of it. This daunting goal of proving Einstein’s theory about gravity waves uses kilometer long measuring devices to detect atomic size disturbances in our surroundings. To see how I’m doing, go to Boinc Account Manager (BAM).

Back to my claim though. A few months ago one of my original projects, lhc@home was nearing the end of its goal, which was to calibrate the new particle accelerator at CERN. Looking around for other projects, I decided to join the Work Community Grid. This organization allows smaller facilities that might not have the expertise or facilities to make use of collaborative computing. I believe IBM is the major supporter, with many other corporate sponsors. I decided to help in the search for cancer and for a better strain of rice.

“Using the power of World Community Grid, scientists at the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI), Princess Margaret Hospital, and the University Health Network will process the existing 86 million images of proteins that have been screened in the high-throughput crystallization pipeline at HWI. World Community Grid will run a CrystalVision program that the researchers at OCI have developed to analyze the features of individual images to determine the outcome of the crystallization screen — crystal, micro crystal, phase separation, skin, precipitate, or no change.”

A small amount of this analysis is done on my computer, but thousands of participants like me make a huge contribution to science.

That’s how I cure cancer in my spare time.


1 comment:

Vivi said...

ouaouh !!! this is really nice to do that !! I admire !! thank you for this Joe !!