You can now donate your smartphone’s spare processing capacity to help support cancer research. New app DreamLab has been developed by Vodafone Australia and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
While your smartphone is charging overnight, it has plenty of spare processing capacity. The app automatically downloads genetic sequencing profiles from the Garvan Institute, and this is processed via the smartphone. When complete it is uploaded for the Institute to use. All while you sleep.
If the app is downloaded in sufficient quantities and used, then the Institute will have access to extensive processing power, all at no cost. For example, 100,000 installations would enable researchers to process data 3,000 times faster than at present.
Choose which cancer to research
The DreamLab app lets uses choose which cancer research they would like their phone to help with – breast, ovarian, prostate or pancreatic.
They can also set a maximum for how much mobile data the app will use each month.
The research potential of course is not limited just to medical research.
Donate your PC’s processing power
Charities and research organisations have been taking advantage of the potential of distributed computing via donated PCs since the 1990s. Projects and tools include:
• SETI@Home at Berkeley University, USA
• Folding@Home at Stanford University, USA
• Stand Up to Cancer – the data processing is made even more enjoyable by making it a mobile game
Donating spare mobile phone capacity in the same way has been slower to take off because of battery issues and data costs.
• HTC Power to Give was one of the first to offer this service.
UK Fundraising first covered distributed or grid computing in August 2000 in ‘Donate CPU time as well as money?
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