Stockholm Science & Innovation School Competition Donates 25 Years of Computing Time to Cancer and Microbiome Research

A high school in Sweden chose to support Mapping Cancer Markers and the Microbiome Immunity Project during a one-month competition between five World Community Grid teams. Here’s what they learned during the process.

Five teams, 25 years of computing time, and 45,945 results returned in one month led to not just great support for two World Community Grid projects, but also a great deal of learning for students at the Stockholm Science & Innovation School in Sweden (SSIS).

The school, which is a partner of IBM Sweden, has supported World Community Grid for several years, including running a friendly competition with a school in the United States in 2017. This past spring, SSIS decided to run a competition between five teams (four student teams and one teacher team) to see which could donate the most computing time in one month. To maximize their efforts, the students decided to focus their efforts on one or two projects, ultimately deciding to support Mapping Cancer Markers and the Microbiome Immunity Project.

Before the competition began, the students fixed 25 computers which ran World Community Grid for the entire month. (Now that the competition is over, the computers will continue to run World Community Grid and will also be used for a Cisco certification class.) Students also learned software installation and how to adjust their computer settings to run World Community Grid as part of the project. 

Once the competition was off and running, everyone kept tabs on the teams’ progress through a student-created team scoreboard that integrated the World Community Grid API, and was broadcast on large screens throughout the school.

Students at SSIS are already required to run World Community Grid on their laptops as part of the institution’s commitment to social responsibility, but they can control which projects to support and how much power to allocate to the program.

In a post-competition survey, the majority of the students said they enjoyed the competition and would like to do something similar in the future. Their frustrations included dealing with the installation process and figuring out how to maximize their World Community Grid contribution without affecting the performance of their computers.

And SSIS’s advice for other schools who contemplate similar projects? 

  • Make sure students know how to adjust their computer settings ahead of time.
  • Think about the type of competition that would work best with your school and student culture.
  • If responsible use of technology and social responsibility are an important part of your school, consider making World Community Grid participation a part of your curriculum.

Thank you to the SSIS students, teachers and administrators who participated in this competition, as well as to IBM Sweden for their support!