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Happy 9th Birthday to World Community Grid
16 Nov 2013   

Our 9th year saw many firsts and notable achievements on World Community Grid: our first mobile computing app, the completion of grid computations for six projects, and the publication of the Clean Energy Project results. Thanks to all the volunteers who make this work possible!

World Community Grid celebrates its 9th birthday on November 16th, 2013. This was an eventful year for all of us, with many successes and highlights. It was only possible because of the continued generosity of all the volunteers who donate computing time; stay involved on the forums, Facebook, and Twitter; and continue to spread the word about our important work.

Key developments this year
Harvard publishes data on millions of organic compounds for solar energy
One of the most visible developments this year was the publication of a huge database containing the results of Harvard's Clean Energy Project computations on over 2 million organic compounds. The database includes several thousand compounds with promising potential for solar energy use. The database has already generated considerable interest from researchers all over the world, and led to publications and awards (see below). The launch gained international media attention as well as recognition from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which recognized this development as part of the second anniversary of its Genome Materials Initiative.

The database is a perfect example of why the World Community Grid mission is so important; open data encourages collaboration in the scientific community, and World Community Grid is unique in publishing generated data to the public domain.

Android app launch opens World Community Grid to mobile computing
The launch of the Android app was a huge milestone for World Community Grid. The app makes it possible for volunteers to contribute to scientific research using smartphones and tablets and positions World Community Grid to thrive in the years ahead. Mobile device ownership is growing and expected to overtake personal computer ownership in the next few years, while mobile phones themselves are getting more powerful and now represent an important source of new and growing computing power. The launch has been a notable success and continues to garner attention in both national and international press for both World Community Grid and volunteer computing in general.

New computation tool accelerates Fight AIDS@Home
In July, the Scripps research team and World Community Grid released a new computational tool, AutoDock Vina, for use in the Fight AIDS@Home project. This tool is more effective and efficient for certain types of calculations. This change doesn't require any effort from volunteers, but it does allow the researchers to assign the right computational tool for each task.

Completed research projects
This was a year of rapid turnover on World Community Grid, as no fewer than six projects completed their grid-based calculations. Read on for a brief snapshot of the research that you helped complete this year:

Discovering Dengue Drugs - Together, Phase 2
The researchers have identified and validated several new dengue protease inhibitors for dengue fever and West Nile virus proteases. A handful of analogs developed from the initial computer-discovered dengue leads have entered crucial pre-clinical pharmacokinetic and efficacy studies. The researchers will be working over the next several years to turn these inhibitors into small molecules with properties suitable for human clinical trials.

Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy, Phase 2
The researchers are now working on analyzing the results data to determine the more detailed protein-to-protein interactions involved with neuromuscular diseases. They expect to publish their results in public databases, along with descriptive papers.

Help Conquer Cancer
The project researchers and other scientists will mine the grid results to better understand how to encourage proteins to crystalize, study the crystallized proteins missed by humans inspecting the images, and generally tune the image analysis algorithms so that real-time evaluation of new data is possible. These are important steps to help scientists better understand protein structure and function, and therefore search for potential drugs to control these cancer-related proteins. This project was completed several years ahead of schedule thanks to GPU-processing capabilities.

GO Fight Against Malaria
The grid computations identified compounds that have some inhibitory effect on the biological activity of certain malaria targets molecules. The researchers and other scientists will continue to process, measure and analyze the results of the virtual screenings already performed. Their work will try to increase the potency and decrease the potential toxic side effects of these compounds to potentially develop these into useful treatments against malaria.

Human Proteome Folding
This was a massive project, launched in June 2006, and was the second-longest-running World Community Grid project to date. The researchers published an open database with the protein structure data calculated using World Community Grid. The data have led to the publications of eight research papers in academic journals, and the results have helped increase understanding of the proteins involved in many diseases. The next step is further research into how these diseases might be treated. Work will continue for some time as scientists continue to analyze the protein structures.

Drug Search for Leishmaniasis
The researchers have started combing through the seven terabytes of raw grid data to determine which of the potential molecules might become the basis for practical treatments. The analysis of the raw data has already revealed several promising compounds, and the next step is to complete the analysis phase and secure funding for in-vitro testing. Depending on the results of their work, a second phase of the project may be started in 2014.

You made your voices heard
Earlier this year, over 15,000 of you contributed to our first ever member study and focus groups, where we tried to get a better idea of what issues are important to you and what changes you'™d like to see in the future. Your responses are helping shape our future, starting with several changes over the coming months to expand our reach and provide you with better volunteering tools.

Papers, publicity and awards
Peer-reviewed paper publications
  • "Lead candidates for high-performance organic photovoltaics from high-throughput quantum chemistry - the Harvard Clean Energy Project" Published online in the proceedings of the journal "Energy & Environmental Science" from the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2013. For more information, click here.
  • "€œDesign and Implementation of ProteinWorldDB" Published in the proceedings of the 7th Brazilian Symposium on Bioinformatics, BSB 2012, Campo Grande, Brazil, 2012. For more information, click here.
The Clean Energy Project won the Computerworld 2013 Data+ Editors Choice Award

Researcher webcasts
Researchers hosted two live webcasts to keep volunteers informed about exciting developments in these projects:Conclusion
Another birthday means that you have continued to support our important humanitarian initiative. The new Android app contributed to a dramatic increase in new membership. Overall, we welcomed over 22,000 new members and over 230,000 new devices. You contributed more than 137,000 years of run time and over 491 million distinct research results, with a record 2.5 million results in a single day this summer.

This research is only possible because of the worldwide community of volunteers who power and support our efforts. Thank you, one and all, for making possible another successful year for World Community Grid! Onward to our 10th birthday in 2014!

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