Technology in Communities
Human ingenuity and effort are key factors in addressing the world’s challenges. But technology can play a critical role too. Where possible, IBM identifies opportunities to directly apply its technology and expertise to problems facing local and global communities. To follow are examples of how we have matched our innovation with community needs in 2010.
World Community Grid
Since 2004, IBM’s World Community Grid has pooled processing power from idle computers around the world to help solve humanitarian problems that require intensive computer analysis. We do this by using grid computing to join together many individual computers, creating a large, virtual system with massive computational power that far surpasses the power of all but a handful of supercomputers. Because the nature of the work is split into small pieces that can be processed simultaneously, research time is reduced from years to months and even to weeks.
World Community Grid is another example of how IBM tightly integrates its expertise as a technology and services company with its community service efforts. Since its launch, more than 540,000 users and 1.7 million devices have contributed more than 400,000 years of computing to help researchers understand childhood cancer, HIV/AIDS, muscular dystrophy, clean energy and more.
In 2010, World Community Grid helped a team of researchers at the renowned Scripps Research Institute discover two new compounds that prove the existence of new binding sites on HIV protease. Associate Professor C. David Stout, senior author of the study, explained, “These results open the door to a whole new approach to drug design against HIV protease,” which is an enzyme used by HIV to create new, infectious viral particles.
Also in 2010, World Community Grid added a new ambition to its portfolio: clean water. In September, IBM announced a project with Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, in coordination with a consortium of institutions from all over the world, which will endeavor to understand the molecular scale properties of a new class of efficient and inexpensive water filter materials. The goal is to help satisfy demand for inexpensive, clean drinking water in developing countries.
The program is part of a broader effort called Computing for Clean Water, which is the seventeenth research project to be launched on World Community Grid and one of eight projects currently active, or intermittent.
results returned to researchers
by computers on World Community
Grid in 2010.
The other seven active research projects are:
- The Clean Energy Project
Harvard University, USA (launched June 2010)
- Discover Dengue Drugs—Together
University of Texas Medical Branch, USA (launched February 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)
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 2010 we launched a social media strategy, including Facebook and Twitter outreach. During the year, the grid added 230,000 new devices, contributed 110,000 years of computer run time and returned more than 200 million discrete results to the research projects.
Also, in early 2011, World Community Grid was the recipient of winnings realized from the game show, Jeopardy! Watson, an artificially intelligent computing system developed by IBM, was a contestant on Jeopardy! and placed first, winning $1 million. Half of those winnings were donated as grants to a number of World Community Grid research projects with the goal of accelerating results.
IBM strives to make its donations to the not-for-profit community sustainable, impactful and scalable. IBM closely ties many of its contribution offerings to its business expertise and product offerings. In this way, IBM eschews checkbook philanthropy, and instead engages not-for-profit organizations on a deeper, more collaborative level. This approach helps IBM understand the true needs of these organizations and deliver greater value, and it helps the organizations better understand IBM.
First piloted in 2009, IBM Trailblazer Grants are designed to offer not-for-profit organizations a chance to enhance their performance and assist them in delivering better services to the community. The offerings help these organizations improve IT infrastructure and build leadership and technology skills through consultations with IBM experts and access to IBM technology. These tailored solutions were developed in collaboration with organizations in the not-for-profit community, and are specifically designed to support them in their efforts to serve our communities. They often involve in-depth workshops on subjects as varied as project management, leadership, operational risk and the strategic use of social media. And they offer specific technology services such as security vulnerability testing, data backup and collaboration software.
In 2010, IBM greatly expanded the Trailblazer Grant program, both within the United States and abroad. The company made 135 worldwide grants during the year, with a market value of $1.9 million. That’s up from 21 grants in 2009. As the program continues to scale and meet with positive results, the company plans on expanding to more than 200 grants in 2011.
Thus far the feedback on the Trailblazer Grant program has been overwhelmingly positive. In a recent survey, 95 percent of grantees said the offering will have a positive impact on their organization. And 98 percent said IBM should continue to provide the offering to other organizations.
The packaged services and technology offerings of the Trailblazer Grant program will continue to evolve as the needs of the not-for-profit community change and IBM’s business offerings grow.
Currently, there are 10 different grant packages, including:
- Project Management: Concepts & Consultation
- Strategies for Social Media
- Leadership & Collaboration Workshop
- Operational Risk & Resiliency Assessment
- Data Backup Services
- Hacker Vulnerability Assessment
- Strategic Assessment
- Lotus® Foundations™
- Mini-Jam Collaboration Platform
IBM continues to expand its Trailblazer Grant program. In 2010, IBM issued 135 grants, up from 21 in 2009. IBM plans to issue more than 200 around the world in 2011.
When disaster strikes, people want to help. IBMers are no different. As such, IBM has a long tradition of swiftly responding to disasters. In particular, IBM has helped to speed and coordinate relief efforts on the ground through a combination of expertise from its consultants, volunteer efforts and monetary donations by its employees, and the deployment of technology and resources to fit the situation.
In 2010, IBM responded in a variety of ways to earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, China and Australia, as well as to flooding in Pakistan. In Haiti, IBM worked with a number of nongovernmental organizations with local staff and experience. We donated services to design an enterprise mobility solution, which led to an expanded system that helped track vehicles and supplies during the chaotic months following the earthquake. We provided an in-depth assessment of the options available in the portable data center market, helping NGOs with crucial criteria for selecting and deploying a portable data center. We donated KidSmart Early Learning Centers to educational facilities being managed by local NGOs. Other equipment was donated to government ministries through the Clinton Global Initiative. A consortium of medical practitioners trying to improve medical care for Haitians received a donation of Lotus Live. Volunteers assisted Haitians with U.S. legal residency matters and taught project management skills to those involved in rebuilding. And IBMers contributed more than $1 million of their own money to charitable groups working in Haiti.
In addition, IBM translated and distributed trauma guides that aid caregivers in recognizing and treating the effects of trauma in children and adults affected by disaster. IBM’s trauma guides were developed in collaboration with trauma specialists from Harvard Medical School, who based the content on training they provided following the 2004 Asian tsunami. These guides provide a practical resource for caregivers offering psychological support to survivors of disaster. Following the earthquake in Haiti, IBM translated the guides into French and Haitian Creole for distribution throughout the country. More than 10,000 copies of the Haitian Creole and French translations were distributed in Haiti following the earthquake. Spanish, Simplified Chinese and Urdu translations were distributed following incidents in Chile, China and Pakistan, respectively.
IBMers donated more than $1 million
of their own money in 2010 to volunteer
efforts in Haiti.
In Chile, IBM worked with the Red Cross on a project for relief following the earthquake in February, and helped create a smarter command center equipped with Lotus Live and Sahana, an open source disaster management suite of tools. The project was highlighted as an example of a smart solution at the Chilean Innovation Discovery Workshop for government. Chile’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Magdalena Matte, participated in the workshop, which highlighted IBM’s use of technology to facilitate relief.
copies of Haitian Creole and French trauma guides were distributed in Haiti following the earthquake.
The Sahana software, a modular and flexible Web-based suite of disaster management applications, was created in Sri Lanka in the desperate three-week period after the cataclysmic 2004 South Asia tsunami that claimed more than 200,000 lives. Now governed by the Sahana Software Foundation, Sahana is used to track everything from victim identification to refugee camps, relief organizations and donations of relief goods. It is an active and evolving open source project that is actively promoted by IBM as a strategic component of disaster response. In collaboration with Sahana experts, IBM has sponsored Sahana Camps in numerous locations, inviting IBMers and others to collaborate on improving skills to use the technology after disaster. A project with the Philippines Red Cross to customize Sahana to that agency’s specifications, begun following the 2009 typhoon, was successfully completed in December.
People affected by disaster in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Peru, India, Chile and China’s Sichuan Province have benefited from Sahana. And last year IBM began work with regional governments in India to host a version of the Sahana software in the cloud, to demonstrate a new regional model for Sahana support within IBM.
Featured IBM Initiatives
A Century of Shared Value
As IBM celebrates 100 years of building a responsible enterprise, we look back at several moments that have defined our values and served as cornerstones in our pursuit of progress.Launch Feature
Smarter Cities Challenge
The Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant program awarding $50 million worth of services and expertise over the next three years to help 100 cities around the globe address a wide range of challenges.Launch Feature
Celebration of Service
IBMers worldwide are improving the communities in which they work, learn and live by pledging time and expertise. IBM honors their commitments with a program of new and expanded grants, and the opportunity to join a global effort.Launch Feature