The Scripps Research Institute and Entropia complete first phase of FightAIDS@Home PC Grid project

San Diego 21 May 2003Entropia Inc., a provider of PC grid computing solutions and the Olson Laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), the largest private, non-profit biomedical research organisation in the United States, have successfully completed the initial phase of the FightAIDS@Home (FAAH) research project. FAAH accelerates AIDS research by generating and testing candidate drug compounds against detailed models of evolving AIDS viruses.

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With the shift to the next stage, the programme will become entirely self-managed by TSRI, which has already begun signing up participants. Those interested in volunteering computing resources to the project can sign up. The Scripps Research Institute stands at the forefront of basic biomedical science, a vital segment of medical research that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life, and is recognised for its research in molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, immunology, the neurosciences, and molecular medicine.

Using software developed by Entropia, thousands of members contributed their idle computing resources to the project. Nearly 60.000 machines in 20 countries have been involved in the project, logging just shy of 1400 years of continuous computing, and performing over nine million tasks. These contributed resources effectively functioned as a computer with 14 terabytes of memory and 1335 terabytes of disk space.

"The FightAIDS@Home project has been of enormous benefit to our research on drug resistance in HIV therapeutics and Entropia has been a key partner in this important cause", stated Dr. Arthur Olson, director of the Molecular Graphics Laboratory at TSRI and FAAH project leader. "As we ramp up the second phase and bring the project fully in-house, I look forward to continuing and expanding upon the foundation laid by the initial project."

"Research is a critical element in the fight against AIDS and this project shows how powerful harnessing together individual contributions can be in providing real computing muscle", stated John Wark, CEO of Entropia. "It would not have been feasible for TSRI to perform the massive quantities of analysis it did without the FightAIDS@Home PC grid, and we are pleased to have been a part of such an important project."

Thanks to member-contributed computing resources, millions of drug docking computations have been run on the FAAH network during the past two and a half years. The project has ably demonstrated that with such massive computational abilities, researchers can utilise intensive approaches to identify drug candidates that succumb to resistance mutations and those that are more resilient to such mutations.

An early lead developed during the first phase of the FAAH project, TL-3, has been shown to be promising against the drug resistant strains that have arisen from the currently approved HIV Protease inhibitors. The characteristics of TL-3 have been born out by the FAAH computational work.

The next phase will build on this research foundation but will run even more massive co-evolutionary computations to look for optimal drug characteristics in evading resistance mutations. As more data become available, it will be integrated into the computations with the goal of developing even smarter strategies for HIV therapeutics.

Entropia's grid computing solutions harness and manage the untapped processing power of desktop PCs within an enterprise network to process computationally intensive jobs for business and scientific applications. Entropia's solutions benefit enterprises that deploy compute-intensive applications such as those widely used in pharmaceutical, material sciences, chemical and financial services industries.

By unleashing the untapped power of existing PCs, Entropia's solutions accelerate innovation and dramatically increase the return on investment for an enterprise's computing and network infrastructure. To learn more about the FightAIDS@Home project and to sign up to become a member and contribute computer's idle resources, you can visit the FightAIDS@home project Web site.


Leslie Versweyveld

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