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Making free supercomputer power available to scientists

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Suppose you are a scientist doing research on climate change. You really could use a super computer but lack the access and funds for its use. IBM to the rescue. In support of the updated Climate Data Initiative announced by the White House, IBM will provide eligible scientists studying climate change-related issues with free access to dedicated virtual supercomputing and a platform to engage the public in their research.

Each approved project will have access to up to 100,000 years of computing time at a value of $60 million. The work will be performed on IBM's philanthropic World Community Grid platform. Created and managed by IBM, World Community Grid provides computing power to scientists by harnessing the unused cycle time of volunteers' computers and mobile devices. Participants get involved by downloading software that runs when they take breaks or work on lightweight computer tasks, such as browsing the internet. The software receives, completes, and returns small computational assignments to scientists.

Researchers are asked to submit sustainability project proposals to receive this free resource, and invites members of the public to donate their unused computing power to these efforts at worldcommunitygrid.org. World Community Grid is welcomed by researchers who don't have the funds or dedicated access to powerful supercomputers that can accelerate their simulations and virtual experiments. It has been used to facilitate research into clean energy, clean water and healthy foodstuffs, as well as cures for cancer, AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Nearly three-million computers and mobile devices used by over 670,000 people and 460 institutions from 80 countries have contributed power for projects on World Community Grid over the last nine years. Since the program's inception, World Community Grid volunteers have powered over 20 research projects, donating nearly a million years of computing time to scientific research and enabled important scientific advances in health and sustainability.

Examples of World Community Grid partnerships are:
University of Virginia on Computing for Sustainable Water, which studied the effects of human activity on the Chesapeake Bay watershed to understand what actions can lead to restoration, health and sustainability of this important resource.
University of Washington on Nutritious Rice for the World modeled rice proteins and predicted their function to help farmers breed new strains with higher yields and greater disease and pest resistance, potentially providing new options for regions facing changing climate conditions.

In the same vein, clean air leaders hailed the Environmental Protection Agency's recent historic public hearings on its Clean Power Plan to curb carbon pollution from existing power plants, which they believe is a key driver of climate change.

"Climate disruption is the defining challenge of our generation. It puts our food and water supply at risk and it endangers our children's health. A crisis of this magnitude demands action. We have a moral obligation to do all we can - by cutting pollution, accelerating a transition to clean energy, and by taking advantage of a tremendous opportunity to modernize how we power our country. Once finalized, the EPA's Clean Power Plan will do just that, and that's why Sierra Club activists are mobilizing to support and bolster this important public health protection at the EPA's public hearings this week," said Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director.

"This rule represents real progress, not only for America's wildlife, fish and birds, but for the millions of sportsmen, wildlife watchers, and nature lovers who cherish America's outdoor heritage. The National Wildlife Federation and our affiliates look forward to working with the administration and the states to achieve the new standards and protect wildlife across the nation," said Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

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