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IBM open sources Blue Spruce to aid medical research

Doctors get help on cause and effect

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IBM has open sourced part of its Blue Spruce web collaboration suite for use by doctors studying the features and genetic origins of illness.

Big Blue has passed the code to the Dojo Foundation’s Open Cooperative Web Framework (OpenCoweb), where it is already being used in a National Institutes of Health funded study of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPDGeneR). The COPDGeneR team is studying the CT scans and medical records of over 10,000 patents in an attempt to understand causation factors and find cures.

“The online system we’ve been using on the COPDGene patients is exciting and extremely impressive,” said James D. Crapo, MD and COPDGene Executive Committee Member. “With the online collaboration capabilities we now have at our fingertips, we’re in constant communication and are uncovering key trends that will help us to better understand the disease.”

While philanthropic, the move also draws attention to the Blue Spruce project, which is an attempt to build a web-based collaborative working tool that can work across multiple devices and geographies. IBM is coming late to this area, and has work to do before it can compete with companies such as Cisco.

“IBM believes an ongoing commitment to open source and cooperative applications is a critical component for building a smarter, healthier planet,” said David Boloker, chief technology officer of emerging Technologies at IBM. “We are pleased to open code and drive innovation in partnership with the Dojo Foundation Project in an effort to streamline and enhance research and real-time interactive analysis of participant data.” ®

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