IBM grid computing aids cancer research

25 Mar 2009

IBM has teamed up with researchers from the Chiba Cancer Centre Research Institute and Chiba University in Japan to use grid computing to search for drug treatments for neuroblastoma, which is the leading cause of death for children with malignant, solid tumours.

This computing power will be carried out through the World Community Grid – a project started in 2004, which is funded by IBM.

It uses the idle processing power of hundreds of thousands of connected computers from around the world to number-crunch complex data that would otherwise take scientists more time and huge amounts of money to carry out on supercomputers.

The connected computing power of these computers actually surpasses that of a handful of super computers, according to IBM, and anyone can sign up to take part on the grid.

“The World Community Grid project developed by IBM is a great idea, allowing non-profit research institutions access to far greater computing resources than what they could otherwise afford,” said Professor Ray Stallings, chair of Cancer Genetics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and programme leader, Cancer Genetics, Children’s Research Centre, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

“I am particularly pleased that such resources are being used to find better ways to treat neuroblastoma – a leading cause of cancer deaths in young children.

“Only through research will we find better ways of treating this often fatal disease.”

Other projects that use the World Community Grid include the FightAIDS@Home project and the Clean Energy Project.

By Marie Boran