Technology in Communities
Organizations have an obligation to leverage their greatest strengths to help overcome the challenges society faces today. At IBM, that means applying technology in creative and innovative ways to benefit our communities.
World Community Grid
Launched in 2004, World Community Grid advances scientific research into humanitarian issues by harvesting unused computing capacity donated by volunteers across the globe. In the past, solving complex scientific problems required the use of supercomputers; with the grid, research can be dramatically accelerated by making vast computing power available for free to scientists around the world engaged in nonprofit, humanitarian projects.
Research supported by World Community Grid includes efforts to find cures for muscular dystrophy, influenza, childhood cancer, dengue fever and HIV/AIDS. Other projects include researching inexpensive water filtration systems and low-cost materials for capturing solar energy.
In 2012, two new World Community Projects were launched.
Computing for Sustainable Water – Issues of water quality and conservation affect people all over the world; more than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean, safe water. World Community Grid is helping researchers study watershed sustainability and the effects of human activity on a large watershed.
IBM’s World Community Grid launches Computing for Sustainable Water Project
The number to date of computing devices registered to help accelerate critical nonprofit, humanitarian research on 10 current research projects, returning over 1 billion results.
Say No to Schistosoma – Schistosomiasis is a tropical disease that kills 200,000 people each year and impacts more than 207 million people. Caused by parasitic worms that are transmitted by freshwater snails, Schistosomiasis is second only to malaria in its socioeconomic devastation. World Community Grid is helping researchers find new compounds to accelerate the discovery of drugs to combat tropical disease.
To find a treatment for this deadly disease, researchers at Inforium University in Belo Horizonte and Fiocruz Minas, Brazil are using World Community Grid to run computer simulations that map the interactions of millions of chemical compounds with selected target proteins. Instead of performing expensive and time-consuming laboratory experiments, computer simulations of millions of experiments can accelerate the search for effective drug therapies – but these require a degree of computing power not typically available to this type of research. With World Community Grid, the researchers estimate they will slash testing and evaluation time from more than 30 years to less than one year.
Other active World Community Grid research projects are:
- GO Fight Against Malaria The Scripps Research Institute, USA (launched November 2011)
- Drug Search for Leishmaniasis PECET, University of Antioquia, Colombia (launched August 2011)
- Computing for Clean Water Tsinghua University, China (launched August 2010)
- The Clean Energy Project Harvard University, USA (launched June 2010)
- Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, France (launched May 2009)
- Help Fight Childhood Cancer Chiba University, Japan (launched March 2009)
- Help Conquer Cancer University of Toronto, Canada (launched November 2007)
- Human Proteome Folding New York University, USA (launched July 2006)
- FightAIDS@Home The Scripps Research Institute, USA (launched November 2005)
The key to World Community Grid is scaling capacity. That’s why every year IBM actively promotes the project and encourages new members to sign up. In 2012 we continued our social media strategy, including outreach on LinkedIn, Citizen IBM, Facebook and Twitter. During the year, the grid added more than 289,900 new devices, contributed more than 142,700 years of computer run time and returned more than 347 million discrete results to the research projects.
World Community Grid is a powerful example of how IBM tightly integrates its expertise as a technology and services company with community service efforts. Over 600,000 members from around the world have linked 2.2 million laptops and other computing devices to World Community Grid to donate more than 700,000 years of total computer run time. World Community Grid has worked with over 440 organizations, including the Executive Council of New York, Harvard Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Tech-Pacifica to connect volunteers to the Grid. Research scientists who have used World Community Grid have published 35 peer-reviewed research papers—five in 2012 alone—that discuss their findings, demonstrating industry recognition of the important contributions of World Community Grid.
The number of members from around the world who have linked 2.2 million laptops and other computing devices to World Community Grid to donate more than 700,000 years of total computer run time.
IBM strives to make its donations to the nonprofit community sustainable, impactful and scalable. We closely tie many of our contribution offerings to our business expertise and product offerings. In this way, IBM eschews “checkbook philanthropy,” and instead engages nonprofit organizations on a deeper, more collaborative level. This approach helps us better understand the true needs of these organizations in order to deliver greater value, and it helps the organizations better understand IBM.
“We are very grateful for the training on SPSS, which has improved our ability to better analyze data to help our beneficiaries, some of the poorest people in the world.”
Executive Director of Trócaire
IBM Services Grants are designed to offer nonprofit organizations and schools a chance to enhance their operational performance and assist them in delivering better services to the community. These offerings were developed in collaboration with our grantees in the nonprofit community and are designed to help recipients improve process and infrastructure, as well as provide them with access to IBM consultants with significant expertise in business areas such as strategic planning, project management and leadership training. By refining these core competencies, grantees are often able to solve current operational problems and make strategic decisions to build a strong organization for future growth. The Services Grants often involve in-depth workshops or technology services, such as analytics and cloud collaboration software.
In 2012, IBM expanded the program both within the United States and abroad. The company gave more than 350 Services Grants worldwide during the year, with a combined market value of approximately $9 million.
The program will continue to evolve as the needs of the nonprofit community change and IBM’s business offerings grow. Currently IBM offers 14 different types of Services Grants in three categories:
- Capacity building
Services Grants spotlight
Trócaire, the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, works in more than 27 countries to fight poverty. In 2012 the organization was awarded a Services Grant from IBM for training in its SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) software that examines existing operational and market data to uncover unexpected patterns and associations. With this software training, the agency has significantly improved its analysis of client data in key areas.
Services Grants IBM gave out worldwide in 2012, totaling approximately $9 million and more than doubling the 150 Services Grants given in 2011.
Being a responsible company in the world today means responding to our communities during times of need. Over the years, IBM has learned effective ways to combine our technology and expertise to bring needed relief and recovery to disaster areas.
IBM’s mobilization efforts in the immediate aftermath of a disaster focus on providing information technology to government and relief organizations to enhance their capacity to gather, manage and analyze critical information. We have taken this approach to 38 disasters in 22 countries since 2001.
On October 31, 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast of the United States, devastating the coastal areas of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, as well as eastern Pennsylvania. In our ongoing response to this disaster, IBM’s role has been focused on offering real solutions to aid in recovery. The total market value of IBM’s post-Sandy efforts for 2012 and continuing in 2013 is estimated at $1.4 million.
“Mary Pat and I are grateful for the support IBM gave to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Because of their knowledge and expertise, the Fund is able to provide relief to New Jersey families and communities in an efficient and effective manner.”
Governor of New Jersey
Among our efforts in 2012:
- A team performed IT inventory and assessment at nine police sites in New York that suffered extensive damage.
- A consulting team created a custom workshop targeted at economic development corporations supported by Small Business Services using our SME Toolkit, which provides entrepreneurs and small businesses with free information critical to burgeoning businesses in areas such as finance, accounting, international business, marketing and human resources.
- A grant of consulting services to Points of Light helped launch a volunteer reception center run by the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island and Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
A team of IBM consultants provided extensive input in establishing the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. "Mary Pat and I are grateful for the support IBM gave to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Because of their knowledge and expertise, the Fund is able to provide relief to New Jersey families and communities in an efficient and effective manner," says Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.
"When we created a response plan for New Jersey and established our relief fund, IBM was one of the first companies to reach out and offer help to us. They then brought talent and expertise to establish our overall operations, a technology plan and our grant-making strategy. We could not have launched the fund without the skills and expertise of the team at IBM," adds Mary Pat Christie, New Jersey First Lady.
- Through IBM’s KidSmart Early Learning Program, 226 Young Explorer computers equipped with award-winning educational software were donated for use in shelters, schools and locations where families received services.
- 1,200 IBM Trauma Guides offering practical guidance to caregivers, volunteers and relief workers on spotting signs of trauma in children and adults were printed and shipped to two nonprofits, which distributed them to paraprofessionals and volunteers.
- The IBM SmartCloud for Social Business platform was donated to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, the NYC Small Business Services and Pro Bono Net to facilitate inter- and intra-agency collaboration and communication.
- CrisisTracker was deployed to capture a subset of tweets about Sandy and cluster them into like “stories” evaluated by IBM volunteers for veracity and geo-coding. Processed stories appeared on a GIS interface, showing the locations that tweets were associated with.
IBM continued with other projects in early 2013 as recovery efforts progressed.
The number of Young Explorer computers donated to shelters, schools and family-services locations in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.
In response to the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, IBM volunteers worked to help restore the website that had been established to raise funds and then crashed during the holidays. In addition, more than 100 IBM volunteers were involved in activities including handling calls to the call center and helping to establish a mentoring program in math and science at the local middle school and high school. Working closely with the school district, IBM also donated technology to further assist in these programs.
Much of our humanitarian disaster response activity in 2012 was carried out through local or regional IBM involvement. Highlights of this 2012 activity included:
- In May a series of large earthquakes occurred in the northern region of Italy. Local IBMers responded by donating KidSmart Young Explorer systems and by providing SmartCloud services to establish a website used by local business owners.
- In June, wildfires swept through the state of Colorado. Local IBM funds were provided for the Teaming for Technology project at Mile High United Way in Denver, which works to make nonprofits more technologically efficient.
- In July, severe flooding in Russia occurred in Krasnodar Krai, near the coast of the Black Sea. IBMers responded through their local International Federation of Red Cross chapters by personally volunteering their time and skills and by donating supplies for the city of Krymsk.
IBM SafetyNet with Nonprofits
Nonprofit social service programs deliver much needed benefits to our most vulnerable citizens. And while private contributions are valued by these agencies, much of their support comes from government contracts. In cities like New York, government funding for nonprofits engaged in social services is in the billions of dollars. Yet securing the funding required to provide these crucial services is becoming more difficult, as donors and government agencies are requesting methodical and detailed accounting of how money is spent in order to better document program effectiveness. As most nonprofit organizations run lean operations with minimal staff, they struggle to gather the needed data from disparate sources and are ill equipped to track information and quickly generate detailed reports.
In 2011 IBM began developing an application to help simplify these important functions and improve the data provided to service workers to improve services to families. Called IBM SafetyNet with Nonprofits, this cloud-based, open-source application reduces administrative time and costs and helps these groups access data to provide better services to a growing client base more effectively and efficiently. The application is currently in use in a handful of settlement houses in New York and is being packaged for broader availability later this year.
The data management application, accessed through a web browser, helps organizations standardize contract, program and client information to improve communications and establish common processes. Fragmented data is brought together into a central repository in the cloud, offering a single point of entry and a comprehensive view of an organization’s information to better track and manage a client’s progress through a program. The application also enhances data analysis capabilities to speed decision making and improve report generation.
The market value of the SafetyNet application, services and maintenance is approximately $125,000 per organization. By sharing our information experience and capabilities, we believe that SafetyNet can improve the delivery of a wide range of nonprofit services.
“IBM SafetyNet allows our children and youth department to track information, run reports and have a more accurate picture of program performance that helps provide better programs and services for our clients...”