With the World Community Grid, IBM is stepping up to help COVID-19 researchers.
IBM is no stranger to using the power of the internet to benefit its research. IBM has had its own computing power crowdsourcing program - the World Community Grid - for a while now, but just recently has IBM turned this project to research on COVID-19. Welcome to OpenPandemics. As ominous as the name sounds, its intentions are to combat COVID-19 and future pandemics by using the power of idle computers all around the world.
According to the press release, “volunteers' devices will perform small, virtual experiments to identify chemical compounds, including those in existing medicines, that could potentially be used as treatment candidates for COVID-19.” And just like other reputable computing power crowdsourcing programs, “volunteers need not have any special technical expertise to participate; the process is automatic. Personal information is never shared, and the software cannot access personal or business files.”
Director of the project, Stefano Forli, Ph.D., who works at Scripps Research, the company partnering with IBM for this project, had this to say about its importance:
“Tapping the unused processing power on thousands of idle computing devices provides us with an incredible amount of computing power to virtually screen millions of chemical compounds. Our joint effort with volunteers all over the world promises to accelerate our search for new, potential drug candidates that address present and future emerging biological threats, whether it is COVID-19 or an entirely different pathogen.”
If you want to sign up for this project (and you should if you have a decent PC), head on over to ibm.org/OpenPandemics to sign up.