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memfree's Journal: grid.org to find smallpox cure for U.S. Army 7

Journal by memfree

Saw an article in my print newspaper about grid.org starting a distributed task to find a cure for smallpox -- not a vaccine, a cure.

Install their screen-saver/client on your Windows (and only Windows) OS, and your spare cycles can be spent on the research (or on one of their other distributed tasks).

The project's FAQ explains how this is getting funded.


  •     Q Who is funding this research?
    The Smallpox Research Grid Project is funded by the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and our corporate sponsor, IBM. Accelrys and Evotec OAI have donated their technology and services while researchers at Oxford and Essex Universities, the Robarts Research Institute, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and The University of Western Ontario are leading the research and providing their expertise.

        Q Who gets the results?
    The United States Department of Defense (USAMRIID). Only US government supported research sites could test the drug as research restrictions control work on the vaccinia virus.

I thought about that for a few minutes, and decided that while I'd prefer a cure to be available to all, it might be okay to let the DoD keep the cure to itself -- at least for a while. My opinion would probably change if the CDC or another agency actually found cases of smallpox.

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grid.org to find smallpox cure for U.S. Army

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  • I've been working on the UD cancer project for about a year - from what I can see, it looks like they've stopped it... I can see no mention of it, and they "upgraded" my client to do this research for a foreign government's research. Why should I allow the US DoD to use MY CPU cycles to find a cure which they'll probably keep to themselves????????? I seriously hope the cancer project is still there.
  • I was going to point people towards Intel's project [intel.com], but I can't find anyplace where it actually lets you download a client. The old URL [intel.com] now says, "This page is no longer available. Please update your bookmark. You will be redirected in 15 seconds."

    Stanford's Folding@home [stanford.edu] project seems to still be active (and supported through the Google Toolbar's Google Compute [google.com] option).
  • See now if everyone would just run Seti@home we could find Aliens and they will have the secrets to Cancer, AIDS, Smallpox.
    • I trust space aliens to find us a cure for AIDS the way I trust the US Military not to use my spare CPU cycles for something abhorrent.

      I run the Windows-only Entropia FightAIDS@Home [fightaidsathome.com] client on three of the machines at my office [entropia.com]. It's a recent development cos I had reservations about them farming out 20% [entropia.com] of their processing to commercial and other non-AIDS interests, but it seems reasonable to sustain the AIDS research project.

      • Honestly, the whole reason I made this a JE was because I thought the military funding/ownership was startling. I just stared at the information for a good long while before I decided I didn't need to actievly protest it ... that I'd simply choose not to participate.

        I basically trust that grid.org is distributing software pretty much as described. They say its the same "LigandFit software [accelrys.com]" used for the 2nd phase of the Cancer Project, and I expect that a) the creators and partners [ud.com] wouldn't have put the effort into writing special routines to do evil things, and b) the military would have a fairly hard time getting the creators to change their code for malicious ends such that the medical researchers wouldn't notice.

        So while FightAIDS@Home is probably a a better task to run (because unlike smallpox, people actually *have* AIDS, and the world needs better tools to fight it), I expect wasting cycles on a smallpox cure to be at least as acceptable as wasting them on SETI.

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