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 NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>