World Community Grid migrates to IBM Cloud

Adopting IBM Cloud boosts efficiency of crowdsourced volunteer computing program used by scientists for health and sustainability research

IBM has announced that World Community Grid, an IBM philanthropic initiative which allows anyone with a computer or Android device to contribute to scientific discovery, has migrated to IBM Cloud as it continues to grow and further its mission to support cutting-edge research into important global humanitarian issues.

World Community Grid has adopted IBM Cloud for 100 percent of its infrastructure, including the infrastructure that prepares the researchers' data sets, distributes tasks to volunteer devices, validates and aggregates the results and returns the data to the researchers. This system manages the workflow of the approximately 2.5 million virtual experiments performed by World Community Grid volunteers every day from more than 3.4 million devices. 

Launched in 2004, World Community Grid creates a virtual supercomputer by leveraging unused computing power contributed by volunteers around the world to accelerate health and sustainability research. Volunteers participate in World Community Grid by downloading and installing a free software program on their computer or Android devices.

With the software, a volunteer's device performs calculations and virtual experiments on behalf of researchers, making use of its compute power while it would be otherwise idle. The results are then transmitted back to researchers, where they are analyzed and used to accelerate research into pressing global challenges such as childhood cancer, Zika, HIV/AIDS, solar energy and clean water access.

Prior to migrating to IBM Cloud, World Community Grid was hosted at a traditional data center. This infrastructure is responsible for dividing up research tasks among volunteer devices and then validating and assembling results for scientists as they are completed and returned by World Community Grid volunteers. World Community Grid wanted a more flexible hosting environment that allowed it to scale more easily.

World Community Grid will benefit from IBM Cloud's global footprint of more than 55 data centers across 19 countries and dedicated network to improve speed and performance for volunteers around the world. As part of the migration, World Community Grid has also adopted DevOps best practices and deployed IBM and open source automation tools such as IBM UrbanCode Deploy, which will allow it to more efficiently perform website updates, technical upgrades and monitor for system issues.

"World Community Grid makes it possible for computationally intensive research projects that would have taken years to be completed in weeks or months, and faster results means benefits are delivered sooner to patients and communities around the world," said Jennifer Ryan Crozier, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and President of the IBM International Foundation. "By moving to IBM Cloud, World Community Grid is poised for years of growth and will leverage automation tools to make our development and deployment processes more efficient."

Since its founding, World Community Grid has supported 28 research projects in critical areas including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Zika and Ebola viruses, genetic mapping, sustainable energy, clean water and ecosystem preservation. To date, World Community Grid has connected researchers to one half billion U.S. dollars' worth of free supercomputing power. More than 730,000 individuals and 440 institutions from 80 countries have donated more than one million years of computing time on more than three million desktops, laptops and Android mobile devices since 2004. Volunteer participation has helped researchers to identify potential treatments for childhood cancer, more efficient solar cells and more efficient water filtration.

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