World Scouting launches technology partnership with World Community Grid

Geneva 02 August 2007If you associate Scouts only with camping and tying knots, think again. As part of its Centenary celebrations, World Scouting has launched a partnership with World Community Grid in a joint effort to create a better world through information technology. World Community Grid's mission is to create the world's largest public computing Grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity. Scouts with access to the Internet are to be encouraged to sign up as members of the new SCOUTS team created on World Community Grid, contributing their computers' unused processor cycles to the global effort. Millions of personal computers sit idle on office desks and in homes worldwide. While they wait, hundreds of people contract and die from infectious diseases every hour. As screen savers run, millions die from hunger, or environmental disasters devastate whole communities. But it doesn't have to be that way and World Scouting is taking up the challenge.

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World Community Grid uses Grid technology to establish a permanent, flexible infrastructure that provides researchers with a readily available pool of computational power that can be used to solve problems plaguing humanity. Grid technology utilises many individual computers, creating a large system with massive computational power that far exceeds the power of a few supercomputers. Donating the time your computer is turned on but idle supports projects that benefit us all. Since its launch in 2004, this virtual community of volunteers has achieved over 100.000 years of run time, providing over 100.000.000 results to research scientists to help in the fight against cancer, muscular dystrophy, AIDS and other types of disease.

"We are calling upon current and former members alike to join the SCOUTS team in the World Community Grid as part of our movement's contribution to creating a better world", announced Dr. Eduardo Missoni, Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, at the launch of the partnership. "World Community Grid provides our members with an efficient and effective way in the modern world to make a real difference on problems that plague humanity. And it's educational - young people can learn more about why those research projects are so important for all of humanity."

FightAIDS@Home is one such example. The Scripps Research Institute's sponsored project uses computational methods to identify new candidate drugs to block HIV protease, a key molecular structure that when blocked, stops the virus from maturing and thus is a way of avoiding the onset of AIDS and prolonging life. To join, individuals should go to www.worldcommunitygrid.org and simply download and install a free, small software programme on their computers.

"Once you have installed the software, you can join our SCOUTS team and participate in World Community Grid projects whenever your computer is turned on", explained Ray Saunders, World Scouting's Director of Information Technology. "The free software is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux/BSD operating systems. Most importantly, World Community Grid is easy and safe for young people to use."

When idle, computers request project data from World Community Grid's server. After performing computations on this data, it sends the results back to the server, and asks for a new piece of work. Every computation provides scientists with critical information that dramatically accelerates the pace of research. Completed tasks are added to the SCOUTS team score, which will be used to measure the contribution Scouts worldwide are making to global research projects.

"IBM is delighted to welcome the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) as a World Community Grid partner", announced Mark Wakefield, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Manager, IBM UK at the launch. "WOSM has global reach - and World Community Grid is assisting with research programmes that have the potential to benefit every citizen of the world. For individual Scouts, World Community Grid is an excellent opportunity for them to individually participate and to demonstrate their personal commitment to addressing global citizenship issues. Given the reach of World Scouting, we hope that their participation will lead to significant numbers of PCs joining the World Community Grid."

The Scout Movement is a non-partisan movement of 28 million active volunteers in a world network of local groups that belong to National Scout Organizations in 155 countries. It is an educational movement, open to all, which aims to help young people develop to their full potential as human beings; it pursues this objective through a carefully designed and constantly improved method. Scouting builds on a value system which encourages the combined development of autonomy and responsibility within a clear ethical and spiritual framework.

The World Organization of the Scout Movement is an independent, non-profit organisation at the service of the Scout Movement, composed of its national organisations. It has had consultative status with the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council since 1947. It is recognised by the majority of UN agencies and governments and works in collaboration with other agents in the world of education and civil society.

Scouting is a educational social force that takes action on environment at local and international levels. It is a leading global movement for advocacy in the following fields:

  • The promotion of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals
  • Sustainable development
  • Protection of the environment

World Community Grid's mission is to create the world's largest public computing Grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity. World Community Grid's success depends upon a massive volunteer force collectively contributing their unused computer time to accelerate research on humanitarian issues. Their partners include companies, universities and associations who are actively encouraging their employees, students, and members to join this vital effort. World Scouting has become a partner of World Community Grid, joining the IBM Corporation and a group of more than 340 companies, associations, foundations, non-profits and academic institutions.

World Community Grid's work has developed the technical infrastructure that serves as the Grid's foundation for scientific research. Hundreds of thousand of volunteers around the globe are donating some of the time when their computers are on but not in use. World Community Grid is harnessing this unused power to help advance promising humanitarian research projects. Results on critical health issues have already been achieved, demonstrating World Community Grid's potential to make significant inroads on a great range of future projects that can benefit the world.

World Community Grid is making its technology available only to public and not-for-profit organisations to use in humanitarian research that might otherwise not be completed due to the high cost of the computer infrastructure required in the absence of a public Grid. As part of its commitment to advancing human welfare, all results will be in the public domain and made public to the global research community.


Leslie Versweyveld

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