November 28, 2005
World Community Grid Launches FightAIDS@Home
IBM launched a new research effort to help battle AIDS using the
massive computational power of World Community Grid, a global community
of computer users who have joined the philanthropic technology
initiative by simply donating unused time on their personal computers.
With computational power already placing it among the top 10
supercomputers in the world, World Community Grid will be the first
virtual supercomputer devoted specifically to AIDS research.
Working with the Scripps Research Institute, a private, non-profit
research organization engaged in basic biomedical science based in San
Diego, World Community Grid will host its second major project -- the
Internet-based FightAIDS@Home, an evolutionary research project
dedicated to finding new AIDS therapies.
The new initiative will deploy massive computer power to develop novel
chemical strategies effective in the treatment of HIV-infected
individuals in the face of evolving drug resistance in the virus.
Developing new, more robust therapies to prevent the onset of AIDS in
individuals infected with HIV will be the focus of the Olson Laboratory
project at The Scripps Research Institute.
"The computational challenges in approaching this problem are the vast
number of possible mutations that may occur, and the huge number of
possible chemical compounds that might be tested against them," said
Arthur J. Olson, Anderson Research Chair professor, Department of
Molecular Biology at The Scripps Research Institute. "The new World
Community Grid project will run millions upon millions of docking
computations to evaluate potential interactions between compounds and
mutant viral proteins."
"AIDS is perhaps the most devastating epidemic of our time. Its growing
impact on the developing nations of the world is both tragic and
destabilizing," said World Community Grid advisory board member David
Baltimore, the Nobel Prize biologist and president of the California
Institute of Technology. "Through World Community Grid, individuals in
all parts of the globe can participate in helping develop effective,
inexpensive and robust therapies against HIV and potentially reverse
the downward health and economic impacts of this epidemic."
The goal of FightAIDS@Home is to design new therapeutic approaches that
are effective in the treatment of AIDS in the face of viral drug
resistance. The pool of potential drug molecules, as well as that of
possible mutant HIV proteins that may evolve, is enormous. World
Community Grid's massive computing power will address the prediction of
relevant interactions between these two pools of molecules to design
effective AIDS therapies.
FightAIDS@Home is the second project that will take advantage of the
enormous computational power offered by World Community Grid. In the
past year, the Human Proteome Folding Project on World Community Grid
has produced a database that describes the structure of approximately
120,000 protein domains that could not be described previously using
traditional approaches. Using only the supercomputers at the Institute
for Systems Biology, it would have taken about 100 years to compute the
protein structures rather than one year on World Community Grid. The
significance of this project to the research community is that this
database of protein structures will help scientists take the next steps
to understanding how diseases that involve these proteins work and,
ultimately, how to cure diseases like cancer, malaria and others. The
results of the Human Proteome Folding project will be entered into the
public domain so that scientists and researchers can use the
information in their own studies.
"We are very excited to bring the power of World Community Grid to this
important research initiative," said Linda Sanford, chairman of World
Community Grid's advisory board and IBM senior vice president of
Enterprise On Demand Transformation & Information Technology.
"World Community Grid is an extremely valuable resource for
organizations focusing on some of society's most difficult challenges,
and we will continue to actively engage with other institutions that
are looking to use this asset for innovative research."
More than 100,000 individuals are now volunteering power from 170,000
computers to help find a cure for AIDS through World Community Grid.
"We are excited to see a new and innovative way of getting millions of
people involved in supporting research, prevention and care to stop the
spread of HIV/AIDS," said Candy Ferret, president and CEO of National
AIDS Fund. "World Community Grid is helping to reduce the impact of
AIDS around the world in a way we can all be a part of. We encourage
all computer owners to take five minutes to join in this effort."