Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Putting your computer to work to fight against malaria in Africa

14.07.2006
While you are sending an email or surfing the web, your computer could be helping to tackle one of Africa’s major humanitarian challenges, malaria. Africa@home, a project conceived and coordinated by CERN , was launched publicly this week. It is recruiting volunteer computers in homes and offices to run a computer-intensive simulation program called MalariaControl.net , developed by researchers at the Swiss Tropical Institute (STI) .

Malaria is responsible for about a million deaths every year in sub-Saharan Africa, and is the single biggest killer in children under five. The MalariaControl.net program is being used to simulate how malaria spreads through Africa. Running the simulations on thousands of volunteer computers will enable researchers to better understand and improve the impact of introducing new treatments.

To install MalariaControl.net, volunteers just need to download the necessary software from the Africa@home website (www.africaathome.org), which will do the scientific calculations in the background, while they are doing something else. The results are regularly returned to a server at the University of Geneva , so that the researchers can evaluate them. Already, in a first test phase over several months with 500 volunteers, Africa@home was able to run simulations equivalent to 150 years of processing time on a single computer.

A key objective of the project was to involve African academic institutions in the development of the software. Thanks to the efforts of NGOs ICVolunteers and Informaticiens sans Frontieres , researchers from the University of Bamako in Mali and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie in Bamako and in Yaoundé, Cameroon, were able to join the project team, which was based at CERN. They were funded by the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN) .

Speaking about the results obtained so far, Prof. Tom Smith of the Swiss Tropical Institute said “Africa@home and volunteer computing really open up new horizons for us scientifically. We have already done more epidemiological modelling in a few months than we could have achieved on our own computer cluster in a few years.”

Dr. Robert Aymar, Director General of CERN, emphasized the importance of knowledge sharing with Africa through such projects “CERN has traditionally been a meeting place for scientists from around the globe, and I am glad that we could host the joint African-European team that launched this project. This underlines our continued commitment to promoting the role of science in the information society, as emphasized at the World Summits on the Information Society in Geneva and Tunis.”

GIAN has just awarded another grant to the Africa@home project, to adapt other applications of significance to Africa to run on volunteer computers. The project will also train technical staff at African universities to manage the servers that run the volunteer computing projects, and help African researchers create their own volunteer computing projects. H.E. Mr. Adama Samassékou, President of ICVolunteers and previously Malian Minister of Education, noted that “getting Africans involved in world-class research like this is a great way to boost the self-esteem of the African scientific community, and putting African institutions at the heart of a worldwide scientific network will be a very concrete step towards bridging the digital divide.”

François Grey | alfa
Further information:
http://www.cern.ch
http://www.africaathome.org

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Japanese researchers develop ultrathin, highly elastic skin display
19.02.2018 | University of Tokyo

nachricht Why bees soared and slime flopped as inspirations for systems engineering
19.02.2018 | Georgia Institute of Technology

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>