How You Can Volunteer Your Raspberry Pi to Help with Treatments for COVID-19

How You Can Volunteer Your Raspberry Pi to Help with Treatments for COVID-19

Do you want to be part of the solution of discovering COVID-19 pandemic treatments? Do you have a Raspberry Pi and reliable access to the internet? If so, you can be a volunteer participant in theOpenPandemics – COVID-19 project– and it won’t have to cost you a thing!

Right now, theForli Lab (part ofScripps Research) is collaborating with volunteers who are part of IBM’sWorld Community Grid to work on computational experiments to help discover new potential COVID-19 treatments.

Scientists around the world are working diligently to develop a vaccine (though this may still take many month - if not years -to produce). Simultaneously, scientists are also researching possible treatments for COVID-19 symptoms, to help those who do contract and are suffering from the disease.

TheOpenPandemics – COVID-19 projectis an example of such treatment-seeking research – and it’s actively in need of more volunteers willing to donate Raspberry Pi computing power. As a volunteer, you can make a significant impact in accelerating the research, and it’s literally something you can do in your sleep!


UnderstandingYour Role as aWorld Community Grid Volunteer

As a volunteer for IBM’s World Community Grid, you would be participating in a social initiative to support humanitarian scientific research.

To volunteer, you woulddownload a secure software program called BOINC. (This program can be run on Mac, Windows, and Android devices – and, yes, also on your Pi.) When your device is not utilizing full power, the BOINC program will start to automatically run a simulated experiment to help predict the effectiveness of a potentialchemicalcompound as a possible COVID-19 treatment. Once it returns the results of a particular simulation, the program then automatically requests another.

In thisOpenPandemics – COVID-19 project, volunteers’ devicesare needed to run millions of simulations in a process of “molecular docking,” which examines how multiple molecules might fit together:when a simulated compound is shown to dock with a simulation of the COVID-19 virus, it reveals an interaction that could lead to a potentially effective treatment against the disease.

As aWorld Community Grid Volunteer, your device would be generating and contributing research calculations when it would otherwise be idle – so, beyond downloading and running the software, youwouldn’t have to change a thing about your daily routine while still helping scientists speed up the research process.

You can find out more about the minimum requirements necessary to participateon the World Community Grid’sSystem Requirements page.



Preparing for Future Pandemics

Currently, theOpenPandemics – COVID-19 project is the only World Community Grid project that’s compatible with Raspberry Pi – but technology teams are working hard to make sure it’s just the first.

Scientists are concerned thatwe may soon face more global pandemics, and researchers will benefit from quick access to proven tools and techniques. For this reason, the research team atOpenPandemics – COVID-19 is building a software infrastructure that can be used in the future to streamline the research process.

The World Community Grid values open data, so all their data findings and the tools they develop will be made publicly available to the world’s scientific community.


Get Involved!

Can you donate some of your Pi’s processing power?

In this case, it really is the truth that every act of participation makes a difference. You can get involved bysigning up on this page jointly sponsored by the World Community Grid and Raspberry Pi Foundation.

And be sure tocome back to thisVilrosblog formore news and project ideasforArduino and Raspberry Pi!