Japanese scientists are calling for our help in advancing cancer research in children. They neither ask for our money nor our time but … the contribution phones.

Researchers at S mash Childhood Cancer (SCC), who have their neighborhood at the Koseika Hospital in Saga, Japan, want to use a distributed computing technique. Do not shy away from this barbaric term: it is simply a matter of potentiating the cumulative computing power of our phones and computers to perform simulations in order to develop a drug capable of treating cancer cells.

To illustrate the effectiveness of the process, Akira Nakagawara, the head of CSC, recounts an anecdote about a previous research: “A calculation that would have taken 55,000 years if performed by an ordinary computer could be completed in two years [thanks to this project], “he explains.

The contribution is totally painless and does not affect the use of your precious phone. “The application will only start if you have more than 90% battery and is waiting for you to be connected to Wi-Fi to not consume mobile data,” says BBC Juan Hindo, Program Manager at IBM Corporate Citizenship that manages the application. It was designed not to bother you and not be intrusive. ”

Results against Dengue and Zika Virus

These researchers, who are fighting childhood cancer, rely on a global initiative launched in 2004 by IBM. This project, the World Community Grid , aims to provide humanitarian research projects with a technical infrastructure facilitating simulations by exploiting the famous technique of distributed computing explained above. Since its launch, it has already made it possible to advance projects to fight dengue fever, AIDS or the Zika virus .

“The World Community Grid makes its technology available only to public or non-profit organizations for use in humanitarian research that otherwise might not be successful due to the high cost of the necessary IT infrastructure in the absence of public infrastructure, “says IBM on the project website .

Initially, the software which responds to the charming name BOINC was able to use only computing power of computers. Since 2013, it has opened to smartphones and tablets, running Android . On the other hand, we are still waiting for Apple to modify its rules so that it arrives on iOS.

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