Feeds

Microsoft researchers build spam filter for HIV

Turns out spammers behave a lot like deadly virus...

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Researchers at Microsoft have discovered that tools first developed to fight email spam can be applied in helping to understand how the process by which HIV mutates to avoid attack by the immune system.

Microsoft Researchers David Heckerman and Jonathan Carlson were asked to help AIDS researchers in Africa to make sense of data from HIV vaccine testing programmes. The data was compiled by a consortium of hospitals and universities, including MIT, the Center for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV.

To their surprise they discovered that Microsoft's algorithms for the detection of spam emails were useful in understanding the mutation of HIV.

"It turns out there are a lot of similarities between the way spammers evolve their approaches to avoid filters and the way the HIV virus is constantly mutating," a post by Steve Clayton on Microsoft Research's blog explains.

To make sense of the data the researchers hit on the idea of fine-tuning a computational biology tool, called PhyloD, with algorithms used for spam filtering. PhyloD contains an algorithm, code and visualisation tools to perform complex pattern recognition and analysis. By adding lessons learned from spam filtering it was possible to more quickly narrow in on possible areas of weakness that can be targeted for later lab research into developing therapies and possible vaccines.

Instead of trying to every possible variable and possible correlations the reapplied spam filtering algorithm created the basis of a more elegant search. Even so a huge number-crunching exercise was still needed. But access to Microsoft’s high-performance computing centre made it possible to carry out this task over a single weekend.

The work led to the discovery of six times as many possible attack points on the HIV virus than had previously been identified. Similar approaches might be applied to studies on the analysis of breast cancer and other deadly diseases, the Microsoft team reckons.

The HIV analysis research is part of a wider vaccine project. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.