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World Community Grid

IBM, together with the general public, is helping academic researchers make advances in energy technologies.

The company’s most recent Corporate Responsibility Report, now available, details not only the company’s own environmental stewardship, but discusses projects such as The Clean Energy Project at Harvard University, which is seeking novel, organic molecules that can underpin cheaper and more efficient solar cells.

IBM’s World Community Grid, which provides scientists with free computing power harvested from the idle PCs of volunteers, has enabled Harvard to discover a new compound for solar cells that might one day be painted inexpensively and easily on windows and roofs. The Harvard team is using World Community Grid to automate and accelerate the screening 3.5 million molecules — chemistry’s biggest set of quantum calculations ever.

IBM believes that collaboration with academia, government, private enterprise and the general public  is the key to better environmental research — and a Smarter Planet.

Below is a video that outlines the latest developments as part of The Clean Energy Project.

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By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

Jason Hlady leads the World Community Grid team at the University of Saskatchewan

When Jason Hlady sees a computer that is turned on but not being used, just sitting there, idling away, he can’t help but think of the possibilities…

That dormant machine could, at that very moment, be running computations to help cure cancer or fight AIDS. It could be solving algorithms that might lead to clean water solutions, or reduce world hunger, or accelerate any number of other worthy research projects.

Hlady, a high performance computing coordinator at the University of Saskatchewan, wants to cut waste and tap the potential of idle computers across the university. To that end, he is leading the drive to get faculty and staff to connect to the World Community Grid — a global network that pools unused computing power and repurposes it for humanitarian research.

As leader of the university’s World Community Grid team, Hlady encourages colleagues to install software that connects their computers to the grid and runs research computations on the machines when they are on, but idle.

“When a computer sits idle, all that energy is just going up a smokestack,” Hlady said. “By joining the World Community Grid, we’re able to put otherwise wasted computing power to good use, helping solve some of the major problems facing our world today.”

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By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

Igor Jurisica, Ph.D, uses the power of World Community Grid to conduct his cancer research

Igor Jurisica, Ph.D, uses the power of World Community Grid to conduct his cancer research.

When Igor Jurisica started doing cancer research 11 years ago, he worked with about a dozen colleagues using a handful of scientific workstations in a small lab in Toronto, Canada.

How times have changed.

Today, Jurisica, a senior scientist at Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario Cancer Institute, conducts his research with the help of nearly 300,000 people spread across 100 countries running his calculations on over 900,000 devices. Continue Reading »

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Kevin Reed, an IBM IT architect, has played a central role in developing and running World Community Grid

Kevin Reed, an IBM IT architect, has played a central role in developing and running World Community Grid

By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

As a child, Kevin Reed was surrounded by scientific research, growing up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, home to one of the U.S. government’s largest national laboratories. Clearly it made quite an impression. Today, as an IBMer in the Midwest, Kevin is devoted to helping make groundbreaking research possible in some of the key humanitarian fields of our time — and to involve potentially millions of ordinary citizens in the effort.

Kevin has spent the past seven years helping build and run World Community Grid, IBM’s volunteer computing initiative that pools unused processing power (PC downtime) donated by computer users worldwide and makes it available to public and not-for-profit research initiatives. Kevin and his team are helping accelerate visionary research on AIDS, muscular dystrophy, world hunger and more.

“This program allows researchers to look at many problems more extensively and complete research quicker than they ever could with conventional cluster computing resources,” Kevin said. “Plus, it engages the public in scientific research in a way where they are actually participating in it and making a real difference.”

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