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Amazon, Facebook, Google attempt to cure cancer with Big Data

Making game of deadliness this weekend

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Amazon, Facebook and Google have all pitched in to help Cancer Research UK run a weekend hackathon, to see how mobile apps might help cure cancer through gamification of cell analysis.

The event runs over this weekend, and will see 40 of Silicon Roundabout's finest holed up in Google's East London Campus for a couple of days to come up with a way to help Cancer Research analyse the mountains of data it collects as part of the ongoing battle with cancer, ideally with a bit of gamification.

The idea isn't unprecedented: Call Slider is a web-based experience which has been running since October for anyone who fancies pitching in to spot cancerous cells, and there's no expectation of an application emerging over the next two days: the idea is to thrash out the details and get something ready for a summer launch, the combination surely making for attainable goals.

To help attain those goals Facebook is sending along its UK engineering team to spend the weekend at the London East Googleplex. Once the app has been designed the development will be farmed out to a software house, and Amazon has offered to host the cloudy side for free.

The app, tentatively titled GeneRun, has the backing of Citizen Science Alliance - a loose coalition of groups working towards getting us all involved in solving some of the big-data problems being created by modern research - and has got to be more productive than another round of Temple Run, but we'll have to wait until the summer to see if it's equally fun to play. ®

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