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The Scouts go grid

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The Scouts are getting into grid computing - yes, it seems that "Dyb dyb dyb" now means "donate your bits". Scouts all around the world are being encouraged to join a team that's donating its spare CPU cycles to the World Community Grid, which provides processor power for medical research.

"We are calling upon current and former members alike to join the SCOUTS team in the World Community Grid as part of our movement's contribution to creating a better world," announced Dr Eduardo Missoni, World Scouting's secretary general. "World Community Grid provides our members with a way to make a real difference on problems that plague humanity."

Launched in 2004, the World Community Grid is backed by IBM, which donated hardware, software and expertise to build its infrastructure. IBM claimed that the WCG has so far provided over 100,000,000 results to research scientists to help in the fight against cancer, muscular dystrophy and other diseases.

Among the projects using WCG processing power is FightAIDS@Home, sponsored by the Scripps Research Institute in California. This uses computational methods to identify new candidate drugs to block HIV protease, a key molecular structure that, when blocked, stops the virus from maturing.

The grid scheme relies on users downloading a software client which requests data to work on, processes it using what would otherwise be idle CPU time, and then sends the results back. The software is available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux/BSD.

Completed tasks will be added to the SCOUTS team score and used to measure the contribution Scouts world-wide have made to the research projects. ®

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