November 22, 2005

Personal Computers Enlisted in AIDS Research

LOS ANGELES -- A new project in the fight against AIDS will tap into the unused power of individual and business computers to help research and identify drugs used to combat the HIV virus.

An Internet-based initiative, called FightAIDSatHome, aims to enlist about 100,000 computer users to donate the use of their machines when they would otherwise be idle.

Participants' machines can request data from a central server, process it and send back the results.

The organizers hope to develop new chemical strategies to treat HIV-infected individuals, according to the San-Diego based Scripps Research Institute, which is behind the effort.

By being able to tap into a vast reservoir of computer processing power, researchers will be able to approach problems more aggressively and quickly, Scripps said.

It is the second research project using the network of computers, called the World Community grid, which is funded by IBM.