Monday, October 5, 2009

World Community Grid projects

The latest at World Community Grid is that three projects are transitioning from their phase one to phase two. This means they are running new research code for these second phases and we need to get that code modified for Boinc, security audited, tested, and build a modified screen saver for each. The "Discover Dengue Drugs Together" project is screening a large number of chemical compounds for their effectiveness in disabling a particular enzyme the virus needs to spread in the body. Actually it is looking at a class of viruses called flaviviruses that include Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Hepatitis C, yellow fever and other less known viruses. The first phase used a program from the Scripps Institute called "AutoDock" to identify a couple thousand most likely drug candidates. The second phase will use a program from Harvard called "CHARMM" which will perform a more precise screening of these candidates, which takes considerably more CPU time per candidate. Using this two phase approach reduces the total CPU requirement needed for the project. For phase one, the project has used 11,737 cpu-years of computer time. We will be starting phase 2 very soon. The "Influenza Antiviral Drug Search" is doing the analogous thing for drug resistant strains of the flu virus and is also going to start its phase 2 shortly. Meanwhile, the Clean Energy Project, which is looking for new polymer compounds that might be used to make less expensive and more efficient solar cells, is nearing its phase two as well. Even though the Clean Energy Project used CHARMM for its phase one, we still needed to do some work on it because it is used slightly differently for the virus projects. As a result, this is a busy period behind the scenes at World Community Grid. Our beta testing volunteers should see quite a bit of activity over these weeks.

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