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World Community Grid

Two million devices took a second job in humanitarian research. Now we're a billion results closer to solving the world's problems.

Computers, smartphones and tablets, like human brains, typically operate at only a fraction of their capacity. Through World Community Grid, volunteers can put their devices’ downtime to use by powering critical research on health, poverty and sustainability.

Cutting-edge techniques enable scientists to conduct computer-based experiments that significantly accelerate research. On World Community Grid, volunteers donate the idle time of their computing devices to allow researchers to tackle ambitious projects that previously were unfeasible.

To join, you install free, safe software on your computer, smartphone or tablet. When your device is idle, the software program works on a scientific calculation and sends the results back to the researchers.

Put your spare computing power to work for humanitarian causes.

Improving the odds for cancer patients

Despite advances in cancer care, cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide. And early and accurate detection saves lives.

Cancer comes in many forms and is caused by genetic and environmental changes that interfere with regular cell growth. These changes can be detected by the presence of unique chemical indicators, or "markers."

World Community Grid’s newest project, Mapping Cancer Markers aims to identify chemical markers associated with various types of cancer. This will help researchers detect cancer earlier and design more personalized cancer care by determining an individual's susceptibility to developing cancer and suggest the best treatment for that individual.

Supercharging solar energy research

The field of solar energy shows potential, but it hasn't reached the cost-competitiveness of traditional sources of power. In the search for cheaper, more efficient solar energy materials, promising molecules could be synthesized in the lab, one at a time. Or thousands can be screened simultaneously using grid computing.

In just three years, more than 90,000 World Community Grid volunteers have helped Harvard University’s Clean Energy Project screen 2.3 million organic compounds as candidates for solar energy materials. This includes about 36,000 compounds with the potential to perform at twice the efficiency of most current organic solar cells in production. This effort is believed to be the most extensive investigation of quantum chemicals ever performed.

Overview: What is World Community Grid?

Mapping cancer markers for earlier detection and better care

Volunteers hunt for better solar energy cell materials

Volunteers talk about their dedication

Transforming the world through volunteer computing

World Community Grid resources are used by scientists seeking cures and new treatments for many diseases, improving world nutrition, identifying clean sources of energy and seeking to improve water quality.
  • Through the research conducted on World Community Grid, the Help Defeat Cancer project has produced a way to automate pathology evaluations, which facilitates personalized therapy planning, clinical trials and drug discovery. This new technology is being tested and deployed in several cancer centers.
  • The Fight AIDS at Home project explores a new, potential-breakthrough approach in fighting drug-resistant strains of the HIV virus. Using World Community Grid, they have screened almost 5 million potential drug candidates, several of whom have demonstrated some effects against HIV protease and are undergoing further laboratory testing.
  • The GO Fight Against Malaria project used World Community Grid to carry out more millions of calculations to screen over 5.5 million chemical compounds for a potential cure for malaria. Several candidate compounds have shown sufficient promise to warrant further laboratory testing.