AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 22, 2002 — Intel, Microsoft Corp., the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR), Oxford University and United Devices today asked computer users around the world to join with them in the Anthrax Research Project, an international effort designed to help scientists develop a treatment for the anthrax toxin.
Individuals can participate in the Project by downloading a screensaver at www.intel.com/cure and donating their personal computer’s spare resources to build a virtual supercomputer capable of analyzing billions of molecules in a fraction of the time it would take in a laboratory. The screensaver works by running whenever computation resources are available. Once processing is complete, the program sends the results back to the United Devices’ data center and requests a new packet of data the next time the user connects to the Internet. The United Devices program incorporates a comprehensive system of security and privacy technologies to protect user privacy.
“This is an example of a problem that we can use technology to solve. In biotechnology research today, a lot of that is actually driven by advances in computer technology. Technology is helping to accelerate the process,” said Rick Rashid, Senior Vice President of Microsoft Research. “This is a great fit for distributed computing and Microsoft is proud to support this worthwhile effort to help scientists find new ways to treat and cure anthrax.”
The philanthropic initiative is based on the successful Intel-United Devices Cancer Research Project that has harnessed the computing power of 1.3 million PCs around the world to provide scientists access to a virtual supercomputer more powerful than the world’s ten largest supercomputers combined. This new initiative will draw upon the same distributed computing technology to help scientists screen 3.5 billion molecular compounds against the fatal anthrax toxin protein and hopefully render it useless as a weapon.
“I’m excited to see international research cooperation and technological innovation come together to accelerate a response to the anthrax danger,” said Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s chief technology officer. “Using peer-to-peer technology and the power of millions of PCs, we’re now in a new era of computing directed at improving the quality of life and this technology will open the door for use in other compute intensive areas.”
“We continue to identify the short and long term benefits of distributed computing in our efforts to discover more efficient and speedy ways to identify new drug candidates,” said Professor Graham Richards, scientific director of the project at Oxford University. “Particularly with anthrax and other related bioterrorist threats, speed to discovery is of the essence. Without this technology and support of the coalition, there would be no other way to tackle such a tremendous task.”
Results of the project will be made available to the United States government, the UK Chief Scientist and other friendly governments for further development and research. “The combined effort of this coalition continues to reinforce the importance of edge distributed computing as a means of helping solve real-world science problems more quickly and efficiently,” said Ed Hubbard, CEO of United Devices. “We are only too happy to be a participant in this effort to help counter the effects of bioterrorism.”
Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.
About National Foundation for Cancer Research
The National Foundation for Cancer Research is a cancer related charity fully dedicated to advancing basic science cancer research in the laboratory that will lead to a cure for cancer. Since 1973 the National Foundation for Cancer Research has spent over $180 million to fund discovery-oriented research that has played a key role in the prevention, diagnosis and new treatments of all types of cancer. For more information, visit them at http://www.NFCR.org or call (800) 321-CURE.
About Oxford University
Oxford University’s Chemistry department is the largest in the Western world. Each year it produces 180 graduates who have completed a four-year chemistry course, including a full year of research; and 80 doctorates. The research school of 72 faculty was awarded 5* (the highest grade) in the recent Research Assessment Exercise, published in December 2001, an evaluation that recognises its considerable international standing. The department has been particularly successful in creating spin-out companies and is currently constructing a new 60 million research laboratory. For more information see www.chem.ox.ac.uk .
About United Devices
United Devices, Inc., headquartered in Austin, Texas, is an edge distributed computing software and services company. United Devices’ MetaProcessor platform is an enterprise technology that allows companies to harness the idle resources of their existing computers, either on corporate networks or the Internet. United Devices’ customers use the MetaProcessor platform to gain competitive advantage and increase profitability by accelerating mission critical research and business applications in a number of industries, including life sciences, geosciences, manufacturing, and digital media. For more information, visit the United Devices Web site ( http://www.ud.com ).