Sunday, July 23, 2006
An Unwanted Journey: Day 0243 - Help Defeat Cancer
Does your desktop computer or notebook ever sit idle? If so, then you are a prime candidate to donate unused computer time to a project called Help Defeat Cancer which began July 20th, 2006. All you have to do is visit www.worldcommunitygrid.org and become a member.
Before I discuss why you absolutely must do this, please rest assured that doing so will not make your computer less secure nor interfere with your regular computing. There is also no cost involved other than the time you take to become a member of IBM's World Community Grid. Nor should you worry about operating systems - Windows, Linux and Mac are all supported.
Once you have downloaded and installed the software agent, you will get a message on the Grid Agent window which should warm your heart (I strongly recommend you complete the member profile when you set up your membership; consider joining me in the Cancer Fighters team which is the largest; this team has, at the time of writing, contributed over 26 years of idle computing time to the grid projects):
Your machine is systematically sifting through the multi-dimensional features of imaged cancer specimens to unveil the underlying protein and molecular patterns of breast, head and neck cancers.
No, the project doesn't deal specifically with colorectal cancer at this point. Still, the idea that the grid can instantly become as powerful or more powerful than the world's most sophisticated supercomputer and that it can be used to combat one of the world's most devastating scourges has to make you feel good!
So why bother?
The World Health Organization estimates that 7 million deaths each year are caused by cancer, 12.5% of all deaths worldwide. We are all aware of the major classes of cancer such as lung, breast, colorectal, etc. What this project does is deal with subclasses of cancer, the identification of which is sometimes key to treatment protocols. One of the newer investigative tools used by scientists is tissue microarrays (TMA) that promise to help oncologists select proper treatment strategies and provide patients with a more accurate prognosis.
Using computer-aided analysis, it has been shown that TMAs are more objective, reproducible, and sensitive. With improvements in TMAs, new drugs can be developed and therapy planning can be enhanced.
The World Community Grid promises dramatic improvements in analyzing Tissue Microarrays. IBM's grid can process TMAs far faster and in greater quantities than possible with traditional computer resources. Hundreds of arrays can be processed in parallel instead of one at a time or in small batches.
So, please, join me to Help Defeat Cancer. Feel free to email me about your decision.
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