The World Community Grid project (www.worldcommunitygrid.com) is an IBM-run project that allows home users to participate and donate their own computer's time towards medical and humanitarian research. Medical research projects are normally carried out through computer simulations, in which varying combinations of proteins and compounds are broken down, combined, tested and calculated. These computer simulations allow medical researchers to compute and profile vast amounts of possible chemical reactions, model proteins, etc.
The ability to process and compute these simulations is a massive undertaking and requires a vast amount of computational power, far beyond what any one home computer could ever provide. These types of projects would typically be reserved for supercomputers in laboratories. The problem with supercomputers is that they cost a lot of money to run. It may only take a supercomputer a couple of weeks or a month to run a medical research project, but the cost to rent the time on a supercomputer could be millions of dollars. Unfortunately, for some of these medical projects, which often endeavor to find cures to some of today's most devistating ailments, it's not always possible to attain that kind of funding.
This is where WCG (World Community Grid) comes into play. While a single home computer is nowhere near powerful enough to process a project like this on its own, when tied together to a grid of 1000's of other computers it's possible. WCG works by allowing the home user to download an application that runs on their personal computer. This application connects to the IBM client and downloads individual WU (workunits) to process. These workunits are individual tasks that your home computer will then run on the WCG program. Each task is one workunit. It might take anywhere from 1 minute (for GPU enabled tasks) to 6 hours to complete a workunit. Upon completing that workunit it will then be uploaded back to the WCG server where the research team on that project will have access to the results. In effect, the single task completed by your personal home computer will help researchers work towards finding cures.
Help Conquer Cancer Project-
Project Help Conquer Cancer (http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/research/hcc1/overview.do) is focused solely on Cancer research. Its mission is to improve the results of protein X-ray crystallography, which helps researchers not only annotate unknown parts of the human proteome, but importantly improves their understanding of cancer initiation, progression and treatment.
HCC (Help Conquer Cancer) has been going on since 2007 (http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~juris/WCG/wcg-hcc.html), and since that time has used the work and research completed to assist in the publication of numerous papers in the field of cancer research. These publications and findings are one of the key elements in working towards finding a cure for cancer.
While any computer can join the World Community Grid project to contribute, the faster your computer, the faster you complete workunits, and thusly the faster you can process and return results to research teams. That said, my goal is to build a relatively high-end computer with the latest hardware capable of processing workunits in the fastest possible time.
To build this computer, I'll research the best components for this specific task and then order the parts needed online (newegg.com). Once the parts arrive, I'll build a computer, configure the software, overclock the hardware (to attain the fastest possible processing) and connect the computer to the World Community Grid project, where it will start processing for the Help Conquer Cancer project.
Here is my parts list for the proposed CPU/GPU folding computer-
- Processor-Ivy Bridge 3770k
- Graphics Processor- HD7970
- Power Supply- Platinum 650 Watt
- Motherboard ASUS Z77
- RAM- Kingston 8GB
- SSD- 40GB
- Processor Cooler- Corsair H100
- Graphics Processor Cooler- Artic Cooling Accel X
Why am I asking for help-
The cost to build this computer is about $1,350, but once running the ongoing cost for electricity will be a considerable amount. I currently already have a cluster computer/CPU folding farm which I built last year that's purpose is to compute 24/7/365. This cluster computer costs roughly $80 dollars per month in electricity on its own or about $1,000 for the year. This first computer was also built with the intention of donating its time. I have considered whatever costs associated in building and operating it an ongoing donation.
This new CPU/GPU folding farm would focus its efforts on strictly Cancer research. The estimated cost for electricity to run the computer is projected at around $60 monthly or around $720 yearly. Combined with the cost of the computer this makes the total cost of the project around $2,000 for the first year, and then $700-800 a year in electricity for each year thereafter.
I'm asking for your help in financing the project because I wanted to contribute more towards finding a cure for cancer, and I wanted to give others the opportunity also contribute towards a good cause. We've all been affected in one way or another by cancer at some point in our lives. There are not many options for us regular people to help with the medical research needed to find a cure. But this project offers just that, a way to help build a computer that will process medical research for cancer.
My Computer Building Experience-
I've been a proponent and advocate of World Community Grid for a while now, and as a result of this I built my own CPU folding farm last year to contribute it's time and processing power to the many humanitarian and medical research projects on World Community Grid. This computer is a cluster computer that combined 3 computers into one to produce a very powerful machine capable of processing a lot of data. Since last July this computer has already donated almost 30 years of processing time (this is possible in just a year's time because this computer can process 24 workunits at one time, so for every single day of processing it completes almost a month worth of processing for a regular computer) Details on this computer are available here on my website- http://www.totalgeekdom.com/?p=572
What your pledges will be used for-
Your pledges of money will go towards the purchase of the components needed to build this computer and also towards the costs of electricity to run this computer. All money donated will go into an account just for this computer, and all money beyond the component costs will be used to fund the electricity costs to run the computer.
My Contribution-My contribution towards this project will be researching the computer components, buying the components, building the computer, setting up the computer to run World Community Grid and then maintaining the computer with necessary updates and maintenance. Furthermore, I will pay for the electricity costs to continue running it. I'll send out email updates and post information for everyone to see throughout the life of the computer, showing the results of everyone's contributions.
How you can follow the progress of the project-
I'll send out email updates to everyone that contributes with a status on the project weekly. This will keep everyone abreast of its current progress. I'll take pictures of the build process as well as post the pictures along with a completed write-up on my website. Once the computer is up and running and processing, I'll send out an update with that information. From there I will send out follow-up emails letting everyone know the status of the machine, how much time we've donated, how many workunits we've completed, etc. I'll also send out progress updates from the Help Conquer Cancer project, so everyone knows exactly how our contribution is helping in finding a cure.
(An update to this section- 11/5/2012 Just came to mind that not everyone would necessarily want updates, which is totally fine. I'll send an email out to all contributors upon the completion of the project and people can choose to opt into email updates if they want, or decline updates if they would not like them. Don't want anyone to feel like they'll be getting spammed if they donate, the email updates will be optional)
While I'm really hoping to be able to reach the project funding goal and build a high-end CPU/GPU computer just for cancer research, I realize that I might not make it all the way to my goal. In that case, any money raised will still go towards this project. I will still build a dedicated computer just for cancer research using whatever funds I've raised from this fundraiser, whether it's buying parts or paying for the electrical costs to operate it.
Team on This Campaign: