Click Here
home features news forums classifieds faqs links search
5630 members 
Amiga Q&A /  Free for All /  Emulation /  Gaming / (Latest Posts)



Lost Password?

Don't have an account yet?
Register now!

Your support is needed and is appreciated as is primarily dependent upon the support of its users.

Main sections
OS4 Zone
IRC Network
AmigaWorld Radio
Top Members
Amiga Dealers
About Us
Terms of Service

IRC Channel

Who's Online
 59 guest(s) on-line.
 2 member(s) on-line.

 Frank,  sicky

You are an anonymous user.
Register Now!
 sicky:  1 min ago
 Frank:  2 mins ago
 densho:  46 mins ago
 sTix:  1 hr 46 mins ago
 Fl@sh:  1 hr 52 mins ago
 Argo:  3 hrs 40 mins ago
 RobertB:  3 hrs 52 mins ago
 saipaman4366:  4 hrs 30 mins ago
 tygre:  6 hrs 43 mins ago
 Rob:  7 hrs 28 mins ago

AmigaWorld - Amiga Community Portal

Computers enlisted for bioterror fight

Date 5-Feb-2003 13:56:45
Topic: Hardware News

The spare capacity of millions of computers is to be used in the fight against smallpox.

The deadly disease was eradicated in 1980 but there are fears it could re-emerge through bioterrorism.

Scientists hope to develop the first treatment for smallpox by harnessing the "downtime" of two million PCs around the world.

It is the latest example of so-called "distributed computing", or the grid, in which each volunteer machine is given a chunk of data to compute.

The Smallpox Protection Project is the brainchild of scientists at Oxford University in the UK.

A number of companies are providing the software and infrastructure - including computer giant IBM and software company United Devices Inc in the US.

Number crunching

The aim is to use lots of computers to screen known chemical compounds for their ability to block the smallpox virus. The substance can then be tested as a potential drug.

Dr Karl Harrison of the department of computational chemistry at Oxford University said there was a tremendous need for an anti-smallpox drug.

He told BBC News Online: "We know the shape of the proteins that are present in the virus.

"We're testing 35 million small molecules to see if they can block or fit into the protein and therefore stop the protein from working."

The focus is a key enzyme used by the virus to replicate. By attacking this "Achilles heel", it might be possible to halt the spread of the virus through the body.

Extraterrestrial life

Problems suitable for "distributed computing" are those which would take years of processor time if carried out on just one, or a small group of computers.

The downloaded software swings into use when the computer has been idle for a set period.

The principle has been used for everything from the design of new drugs to the search for extraterrestrial life.

The smallpox screensaver follows on from a similar anti-cancer initiative at Oxford University.

The first such project of its kind, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), analyses radio telescope data.

This article comes from AmigaWorld - Amiga Community Portal

The URL for this story is: