World Community Grid

Donate computing power from everyday devices to
advance global scientific research

While you’re in a meeting today, your computer can help develop new cancer treatments. When you go out for dinner tonight, your tablet can work on potential cures for Ebola. The devices you use every day can contribute to groundbreaking research in health, energy, nutrition and other humanitarian causes.

How is this possible? IBM’s World Community Grid enables anyone to donate the spare computing power of their computers and mobile devices to help researchers find the next breakthrough. It's a free, safe way to put an unused resource to work for good, without having any impact on your own use of your devices.

Why does this matter? Because in research, time is measured in money and lives. Quicker results mean quicker benefits for patients and more. And the enormous power of World Community Grid means that simulations that would have taken years can be completed in weeks or months. It’s even possible for researchers to run projects that are otherwise unaffordable or unimaginable, such as comparing all the genes from all the thousands of organisms in a soil sample, or modeling water flows at atomic levels of detail.

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World Community Grid is the world's largest volunteer computing initiative dedicated to tackling projects that benefit humanity. Watch the video to learn more.

World Community Grid essentially turns each connected device into one part of a massive virtual supercomputer. It breaks down complex research experiments into millions of pieces and sends them to individual devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones to work on when they’re idle. The results are then collected, digitally ‘cleaned’ and delivered to the researcher like a gift, neatly packaged and containing valuable and eagerly awaited information.

By harnessing the unused computing power of 677,000 volunteers’ computers and mobile devices around the world, researchers are able to access dedicated computing time worth hundreds of millions of dollars and conduct research that would have taken years in weeks or months.

Everyone can contribute spare computing time towards the common good. It’s free, secure and easy to do. Find out more and join today.

Nanotech joins the quest for clean water

A billion people lack access to clean water. Droughts decimate once-fertile farmlands. Ocean water is plentiful but, of course, too salty for most urgent needs. Now an international group of scientists, using the massive computing power contributed by 150,000 World Community Grid volunteers, has uncovered important new information about applying carbon nanotubes to water shortage issues. These tiny water filters have the potential to provide more affordable, efficient access to clean water—and contribute further to energy and medical research.

The battle against Ebola

In the summer of 2014, an outbreak of the Ebola virus became the largest in history, and has been described by the World Health Organization as "the most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times." In response to this crisis, IBM and The Scripps Research Institute launched Outsmart Ebola Together to screen millions of chemical compounds, searching for ones that can disable the Ebola virus. In just the first few weeks, volunteers completed calculations that would have taken 150 years on a single-processor PC.

Breakthrough in the fight against childhood cancer

Partnering with the Chiba Cancer Research Institute and Chiba University in Japan, World Community Grid launched a project in 2009 to search for new treatments for neuroblastoma, one of the most common and dangerous forms of childhood cancer. Out of the three million plus drug candidates screened by 200,000 volunteers, seven promising drug candidates with no apparent side effects were identified in 2013. The highly successful in vivo test results are a major milestone that sets the research team up for the next step: human trials.

Helping develop affordable solar energy

In 2013 Harvard University announced the discovery of more than 35,000 materials with the potential to double carbon-based solar cell efficiency, after scanning more than 2.3 million materials on World Community Grid. Previously, carbon-based solar cells were made from a handful of highly efficient molecules that were painstakingly discovered one by one. Now, there are thousands more to explore: an exponential increase.

New treatments for malaria and tuberculosis

With the help of World Community Grid, researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered five candidate compounds that could form the basis of treatments for both malaria and drug-resistant tuberculosis. The researchers plan to collaborate with medicinal chemists to develop these “hit” compounds into much more potent “lead” compounds that have the properties necessary for use in pharmaceuticals.

Insight into quantum properties of carbon nanotubes for affordable water filtration

Tsinghua University used World Community Grid to discover a new flow phenomenon that could make water filtration by nanotubes significantly more efficient. This phenomenon was missed in previous studies because researchers lacked the computing power to carry out simulations at a high enough level of detail to detect it. This discovery could improve water quality and access for millions of people.

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