February 08, 2003
Distributed Computing and Smallpox.

From the Times article:

"Responding to worries that smallpox could become a weapon of bioterrorism, a group of research universities and corporations and the Defense Department are announcing today a networked computer project intended to accelerate the search for a cure for smallpox.

The project is to use computing power contributed by a few million personal computer owners linked to the Internet worldwide to try to winnow the number of chemical compounds that might show promise in combating smallpox.

Steady advances in processing power, network capacity and software have made it possible to assemble distributed computing networks that can be directed at a problem like smallpox. A comparatively simple but well-known distributed computing application is the SETI@home program, begun in 1999, which harnesses the spare power of millions of personal computers to seek signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

The project will use molecular modeling and screening techniques to test how strongly a wide range of druglike compounds interact with an important enzyme used by the smallpox virus. The goal is to find molecular compounds that block the enzyme, called topoisomerase, preventing the virus from replicating."

The Smallpox Research Grid is here.

Posted by at February 08, 2003 09:08 AM
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