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Help Save the World with Your Smartphone

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by Rhiannon Bristow-Stagg (subscribe)
Freelance writer and photographer with an interest in science communication. Always looking for new experiences and discoveries!
Published October 25th 2016
Your not-so-humble smartphone can help solve big problems
Supercomputers are revolutionising computational science, and they are being put to task solving real world problems right now. However, their amazing ability to crunch a lot of data in new ways means demand is high and researchers have limited access to them. Enter you.

You might not realise it, but your not-so-humble smartphone can play a part in a much bigger picture. You can put your smartphone's processing power to use when you don't need it, helping solve the world's problems!

In Australia, the Garvan Institute for Medical Research has DreamLab. By downloading the DreamLab app onto your android phone, you can play a part in fast-tracking cancer research. They say that: "if just 1,000 people downloaded the app, we could decipher data 30 times faster than at the current rate".

DreamLab runs free on the Vodafone network, but some functions in the app may use a small amount of data. Other users can nominate how much data they would like to contribute using their mobile or home wifi network.
DreamLab image

Another way to save the world is with the IBM Community Grid. You can download the World Community Grid to your computer or devices and donate the spare computing power to help scientists solve the world's biggest problems in health and sustainability.

This community is contributing their smartphones right now to make better solar cells, fight zika, detect cancer earlier, fight tuberculosis, and help identify more effective HIV/AIDS treatments. To date, people have contributed to discovering compounds for harnessing solar power, new drug candidates for childhood neuroblastoma, and discovered how nanotechnology could provide clean water.

One of the projects is #OpenZika which runs virtual experiments on potential compounds that could form drugs to address Zika, a public health emergency.

So, why not help solve some big problems this weekend?
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