Now you can donate your computer and smartphone processing power to the fight against Ebola

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Now you can donate your computer and smartphone processing power to the fight against Ebola

The Ebola Outbreak 2014 has caused unprecedented damage not just by the numbers of patients that have succumb to it, also by the toll is has had on the socio-economic development of many West African countries. The international community has reacted by sending military troops, medical workers, smartphones, apps have been developed, and various kinds of test vaccinations have been used. Now thanks to IBM, you as a lone citizen can join in on the aid bandwagon by lending some of your computer’s or smartphone’s processing power to the fight against Ebola.

IBM has come up with an innovative way that will allow virtually anyone owning a desktop computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone to join the fight against Ebola. IBM has achieved this by creating a platform that allows device owners to donate their processing time on their devices to medical researchers.

Through a partnership with Scripps Research Institute based in California, IBM wants to combine the processing power of thousands of small computers to individually tackle a piece of a larger medical puzzle. Normally such medical puzzles would be tackled using a supercomputer, but IBM has come up with an innovative substitute.

A biomedical researcher Erica Ollmann Saphirre as cited by Yahoo Tech said, “This could let us do in months what it would otherwise take years and years to do.”

Well, we appreciate the innovative approach by IBM to tackle the Ebola Outbreak, but the concept behind this idea has been around for some time now. A number of universities and research institutes have been using this technology dubbed, distributed computing to tackle complex problems. In the last decade, IBM has been sponsoring a project referred to as World Community Grid; where volunteers agree to download certain software that will utilize the unused processing capacity on their computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The IBM vice president, Stan Litow, said up to 680,000 volunteers from across 80 countries have already volunteered into the IBM program. All of whom have surrendered their unused computing power to a community of scientist from several institutions doing research on AIDS, Cancer, Malaria and other environmental issues.

The software can be downloaded at and can be run from a Windows and Mac computers. It can also run on Android mobile devices, but not on iPhones and iPads. According to Litow, the software only uses idle processing capacity on your device, when you connect to the internet. The developers vouch for it that it can’t use your processing power while you are offline, neither does it slow down other apps running on your device. For mobile devices, the software only works when you are charging your device and you are using a Wi-Fi connection.

It also gives you more control over it, by allowing you to choose when the software starts running and if or not it should run automatically. IBM has also promised to respect your privacy and have also vouched for the software that it will not be able to change or access any of your files stored on the device.

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