Thursday, July 31, 2008

DIY: Find a cure for Malaria

I came across a D.I.Y (Do It Yourself) article in the Discovery Channel Magazine (Issue 3 2008) that caught my attention. As you can see from the title it refers to finding a cure for Malaria. Did you know that the number one killer in Africa is Malaria? It kills over 5 million victims a year. The article reads:

“The Swiss Tropical Institute (STI) is asking you to help. It has developed a computer program to study the cause, distribution and controls for malaria that simulates possible treatments and transmission patters. But it needs massive computing power, which STI doesn’t have.

So the STI researchers have chopped the program up into little chunks that can be processed simultaneously by thousands of home PCs around the world. And that includes your computer.
All you need to do is to log on to the AFRICA@home website ( to sign up. They will give you software to download, and then send you data to run on your PC to help the scientists to understand, hopefully treat and maybe one day eradicate malaria.

If you want to get really geeky, you can tell your friends you are working on, ‘engineering simulations of large human populations with a diverse set of biological and social parameters, using stochastic simulations of the epidemiology of plasmodium falciparum.’ That should impress.”

This works on a Mac too! After downloading the software, you simply run it when your computer has idle time. I’ve already downloaded and run the application. There is nothing to it. Enjoy!

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