Are you a scientist studying climate change or ways to mitigate or adapt to its impacts?
IBM invites you to apply for free crowdsourced supercomputing power, weather data and cloud storage to support your climate or environmental research project.
Up to five winning research teams will be announced beginning Fall 2017.
In return for this support, worth up to $40 million, we ask you to support open science by publicly releasing the research data from your collaboration with IBM, enabling the global community to benefit from and build upon your findings.
IBM has been a leader in addressing climate change through our energy conservation and climate protection programs for decades. We're proud to expand our support for vital climate change research through this initiative.
You study our planet's vital signs. Let us supercharge your research!
IBM Resources, For Free
Crowdsourced computing power
Scientists can receive free, 24/7 access to up to 150,000 years of computing power though World Community Grid, an award-winning IBM Citizenship initiative that enables anyone with a computer or Android device to support scientific research by carrying out computational research tasks on their devices. This allows researchers to conduct large-scale investigations, often magnitudes larger than they would have otherwise been able to conduct.
Established in 2004, the initiative has enabled a number of breakthrough discoveries and has supported environmental research by helping scientists discover new materials for efficient solar energy, study the impact of management policies on large watershed areas and uncover more efficient ways to filter water. World Community Grid's impact has been recognized by the White House Climate Data Initiative in 2014, the White House Materials Genome Initiative in 2013, and a Webby Award in 2016.
"World Community Grid enabled us to find
new possibilities for solar cells on a
timescale that matters to humanity--in other
words, in a few years instead of decades."
Dr. Alan Aspuru-Guzik
Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
The historical and real-time weather data of The Weather Company, an IBM business, can help advance our understanding of environmental systems and support the design of solutions to prevent, mitigate against and adapt to climate change. These weather data can support many potential areas of inquiry, such as understanding impacts on watersheds and fresh water resource, tracking and predicting (human or animal) migration patterns based on changing weather conditions, analyzing weather that affects propagation of pollution and hampers clean-up efforts, developing models to analyze and improve crop or livestock resilience and yields in regions with extreme weather conditions, and more.
If you work on environmental research initiatives with very large data sets, IBM Cloud storage for your IBM-supported project could give you a scalable platform to store and analyze the results of your virtual experiments on World Community Grid and conduct further investigations. If you are awarded a grant, we will work with you to scope a free contribution of IBM Cloud storage aligned with your research efforts.
What's your big idea?
Frequently Asked Questions
We're an IBM Citizenship initiative that connects researchers with free and massive computing power, donated by volunteers around the world, to advance scientific research that tackles our planet's most pressing issues. Anyone with a computer or Android device can sign up to participate. To date, over 730,000 individuals and 440 organizations have contributed over a billion years of computing power to support 28 research projects, including studies about low-cost water filtration systems and new materials for capturing solar energy efficiently.
Our research partners have published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers in journals including Science, Nature and PLOS. This crowdsourced computing power, which is provided to researchers for free, often allows them to take on research efforts at an unprecedented scale and get the work done in years instead of decades.
Scientists like you, from institutions all over the world, come to us with research projects that need massive amounts of computing power. Using your research simulation or modeling software tool of choice, we integrate that software into our platform and distribute millions of computational tasks to thousands of World Community Grid volunteers who perform these calculations on their computers and Android devices, on your behalf. World Community Grid bundles the results of these calculations and sends them back to you. Through World Community Grid, you can not only access massive computing power at no cost, but can also engage the public in your research.
Since 2004, World Community Grid has supported a number of environmental research efforts including:
- Clean Energy Project - In what is believed to be the largest quantum chemistry experiment ever performed, researchers at Harvard University screened millions of organic photovoltaic compounds to predict their potential for converting sunlight into electricity. Amongst these, 36,000 were predicted to double the efficiency of most carbon-based solar cells currently in production.
- Computing for Clean Water - Researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing used World Community Grid to simulate the flow of water through carbon nanotubes at an unprecedented level of detail. In doing so, they discovered a phenomenon that points to a new possibility for water filtration which could one day improve access to clean water for the nearly one billion people around the world who lack access to it.
- Computing for Sustainable Water - Scientists at University of Virginia studied the impact of management policies on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay to gain deeper insights into what actions can lead to restoration, health and sustainability of this important water resource.
- Uncovering Genome Mysteries - Researchers examined 200 million genes from a wide variety of life forms, such as microorganisms found on seaweed from Australian coastlines and in the Amazon river. The goal of their work is to augment knowledge about biochemical processes in general, identify how organisms interact with each other and the environment, and document the current baseline microbial diversity, allowing a better understanding of how microorganisms change under environmental stresses, such as climate change.
You can run your research on World Community Grid, an IBM Citizenship initiative that provides scientists with massive amounts of computing power, for free. Through World Community Grid, your computational research calculations are distributed to thousands of volunteers around the world who perform these calculations on their computer or Android devices. In doing so, you get 24/7 access to up to 150,000 years of distributed computing power.
In addition, we carry out the technical work to integrate your computational research tool of choice into the World Community Grid platform. We also provide communications and outreach support to engage and educate the public in your research.
As one of the researchers who has used World Community Grid for several years once said, "It turns out that having hundreds of thousands of computers in parallel accelerates things more than having a supercomputer." World Community Grid provides scientists with 24/7 access to enough computing power to match some of the world's most powerful supercomputers. But unlike a traditional supercomputer, World Community Grid distributes the computational work to thousands of computers worldwide, each of which is provided by a volunteer who chooses to make their device available to conduct scientific calculations. For our research partners, this means not having to wait in line for computing resources as they would with most supercomputers at their own institutions. Instead, they receive free access to massive amounts of computing power, while engaging the public in your research.
This also means that in order to run a research effort on World Community Grid, the computational work must be able to be split up into millions of jobs. These jobs should be:
- Small enough to distribute to many thousands of volunteers around the world Capable of running independently of each other, as volunteers will be running these jobs simultaneously. While some dependency between jobs is possible, it would slow down how quickly results are returned to researchers.
- Capable of being run on a typical personal computer and therefore do not require more memory, storage, or other system resources than a typical computer would have access.
- The amount of CPU computing time required for each job must be significantly more than the time it would take to transfer the research task to and results from the volunteer's device - i.e. calculations which are computing intensive and not data intensive.
- Each job is expected to run in a number of hours (and not minutes, days or weeks).
Also, we typically look for projects which need at least 10,000 CPU-years of computing power and up to 150,000 CPU-years.
You may request free access to weather data from The Weather Company, an IBM business, to support your research. The data may include global weather forecasts, historical observations, and current weather conditions. This data can support many potential areas of inquiry, such as understanding impacts on watersheds and fresh water resource, tracking and predicting (human or animal) migration patterns based on changing weather conditions, analyzing weather that affects propagation of pollution and hampers clean-up efforts, developing models to analyze and improve crop or livestock resilience and yields in regions with extreme weather conditions, and more.
Access will be provided through APIs, while your project runs on World Community Grid. Support will also be provided to assess your weather data needs, identify which weather APIs are most applicable and help you get set up with access to the APIs.
Click here for a list of all available weather data APIs and a description of each API.
You may request free access to IBM Cloud object storage for all data storage needs related to your IBM-supported project, while your project runs on World Community Grid. Technical assistance will also be provided to assess your data storage needs and determine appropriate storage solution for you.
If you are a scientist working on climate or environment-related research at a public or non-profit institution, we invite you to apply for free computing and data resources from IBM to support your research. IBM will award up to 5 grants.
Successful proposals will:
- Be not for profit: conducted by public or nonprofit organizations
- Tackle climate change: Advance understanding of the impacts of climate change, and/or strategies to adapt to or mitigate the impacts of climate change.
- Contribute to open science: all data generated by World Community Grid volunteers must be made freely available to the scientific community
- Be enabled, accelerated or enhanced by the resources we offer: climate or environmental computational studies that require significant computer processing power and can be divided into small independent computations, may need weather data, and/or could benefit from large amounts of cloud-based storage.
Proposals will be evaluated for:
- Scientific merit
- Potential to contribute to the global community's understanding of specific climate change and environmental science challenges
- Capacity of the research team to manage a sustained research project
- Demonstrated need for IBM resources
In return for these free resources, you must agree to support our open data policy by publicly releasing the research data from your World Community Grid project, to enable the global scientific community to benefit from and build upon your findings. Research teams will also agree to engage the volunteers in their research through regular communications through World Community Grid communication channels.
While we welcome proposals that use any computational tool, the following software tools have already been enabled to run on World Community Grid, and a project using one of these tools could therefore be set up relatively quickly.
The first-round deadline for applications is September 15, 2017. We will then notify up to 5 winning research teams beginning Fall 2017.