I just wrote a profile of Stonewall Cable, a small-ish (about 70 people) firm in the North Country town of Rumney, N.H., which makes specialty broadcasting and data cables for military and electronics applications – including cables being used by broadcasters in the upcoming summer Olympics (that’s the news hook).

As part of reporting, the company spokesman mentioned that founder Jeffrey Emery, who oversees the firm’s IT, is a big fan of IBM’s World Community Grid, a portal for distributed computing efforts of citizen science, in which your free computer cycles run algorithms or search through data for some medical or scientific research project. And when you’re a big fan who’s president of a company with lots of computers, that means you can participate a bunch:

Stonewall Cable has been part of the project since May 11, 2007, with “a total run time of 7 years, 284-plus days” making it one of the top 3 percent of participants in terms of run time and results achieved. They have participated in 16 projects, including:

  • Mapping Cancer Markers, which tallies vast number of combinations of genetic markers to spot those that will help predict cancer and its progression
  • Outsmart Ebola Together, which help researchers at The Scripps Research Institute screen millions of candidate drug molecules to identify ones that can disable the Ebola virus.
  • The Clean Energy Project Phase 2, designed “to obtain more accurate optical, electronic and other physical properties of candidate solar materials” identified in Phase 1 via “quantum mechanics calculations being performed for each of the candidates.”
  • Nutritious Rice for the World, which helps identify complex biochemical interactions of individual component proteins that can predict high yield, disease resistance, or nutrient content of strains, choosing better candidates for cross-breeding.
  • Human Proteome Folding – very deep research to understand how human proteins fold, which is a key to learning how diseases work.
 I thought this was very cool and worth noting. I suspect that a lot of corporations are leery of participating in distributed programs for fear of security or hidden costs.  It’s nice to see this one.

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