2017 June 2017 June 2017 Main News

Crowdsourcing to beat cancer

Biochemistry professors Pia Vogel and John Wise in the SMU Department of Biological Sciences and Corey Clark, deputy director of research at SMU Guildhall, are leading the SMU assault on cancer in partnership with fans of the best-selling video game Minecraft.
Vogel and Wise expect deep inroads in their quest to narrow the search for chemical compounds that improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs.
“Crowdsourcing as well as computational power may help us narrow down our search and give us better chances at selecting a drug that will be successful,” said Vogel. “And gamers can take pride in knowing they’ve helped find answers to an important medical problem.”
Up to now, Wise and Vogel have tapped the high performance computing power of SMU’s ManeFrame, one of the most powerful academic supercomputers in the nation, to sort through millions of compounds that have the potential to work. Now, the biochemists say, it’s time to take that research to the next level — crowdsourced computing.
A network of gamers can crunch massive amounts of data during routine gameplay by pairing two powerful weapons: the best of human intuition combined with the massive computing power of networked gaming machine processors.
Taking their research to the gaming community will more than double the amount of machine processing power attacking their research problem.
Read more at SMU Research.