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Players Can Assist in Cancer Research Via Special Mod

Posted by Suzie Ford on May 16, 2017  | Comments

Players Can Assist in Cancer Research Via Special Mod - MMORPG.com

Southern Methodist University (SMU) is the home of one of the most advanced educational super computers in the US. To extend the machine processing power associated with cancer research currently in process at SMU, educators have created a special Minecraft mod that provides "much more computing power than even the super computer here at SMU", said one professor.

"If we take a small percentage of the computing power from 25,000 gamers playing our mod we can match ManeFrame's 120 teraflops of processing power," Clark said. "Integrating with the 'Minecraft' community should allow us to double the computing power of that supercomputer."

Research, in this case, is centered on chemical compounds that improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs.  Each compound contains 50 to 100 characteristics. The goal of the "crowd sourcing" through Minecraft is to identify which of those characteristics are the important ones. In addition, human problem solving also becomes its own "human heuristic" where techniques and processes as applied to decision-making come to the forefront.

To get started, players use an existing copy of Minecraft and use SMU's mod / plugin code. The mod was created fully within Minecraft's ToS and players are fully informed about what the changes from the base game are and what the data collected is being used for.

"We expect to have over 25,000 people continuously online during our testing period," Clark said. "That should probably double the computing power of the supercomputer here."

That many players and that much is a massive resource attacking the research problem, Wise said.

You can read the full article over at Phys.org.

Would you play the SMU mod to assist in cancer research? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Suzie Ford / Suzie is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. Follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom
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