The 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, including scientists, medical practitioners, activists, policymakers, people living with HIV and others committed to ending the epidemic. IBM, a conference sponsor, is committed to applying its talent and technology to advance the fight against HIV/AIDS through philanthropic initiatives such as World Community Grid, which enables individuals to donate their unused computing power to advance cutting-edge scientific research on health, poverty and sustainability.
In the article below, Scripps Research Institute researcher Dr. Arthur Olson shares an update on how World Community Grid is helping his team develop therapies – and a potential cure – for AIDS.
The Scripps Research Institute’s FightAIDS@Home initiative is a large-scale computational research project whose goal is to use our knowledge of the molecular biology of the AIDS virus HIV to help defeat the AIDS epidemic. We rely on IBM’s World Community Grid to provide massive computational power donated by people around the world to speed our research. The “virtual supercomputer” of World Community Grid enables us to model the known atomic structures of HIV molecules to help us design new drugs that could disrupt the function of these molecules. World Community Grid is an essential tool in our quest to understand and subvert the HIV virus’s ability to infect, spread and develop resistance to drug therapies.
Since the early 1980s – when AIDS was first recognized as a new epidemic and a serious threat to human health – our ability to combat the HIV virus has evolved. Using what we call “structure-based drug discovery,” researchers have been able to use information about HIV’s molecular component to design drugs to defeat it. Critical to this process has been our ability to develop and deploy advanced computational models to help us predict how certain chemical compounds could affect the HIV virus. The development of our AutoDock modelling application – combined with the computational power of World Community Grid – represents a significant breakthrough in our ability to fight HIV.
How can a fast growing NGO increase its employees’ project management skills while simultaneously initiating two IT projects? IBM in Switzerland provided the answer via an Impact Grant for Project Management.
Our organization – Tischlein deck dich – is an apolitical and non-denominational NGO that feeds the hungry with reclaimed food. Industry, major distributors, farmers and retail donate their excess food, and we distribute it nationwide to people affected by poverty. In 2013 alone, we collected and distributed more than 2.5 million kilograms of food (worth more than USD$12.5 million) to more than 13,000 people each week.
The great philanthropist Andrew Carnegie provided funds for the founding of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina 111 years ago. Over that time, the Library has grown to serve more than 1 million patrons through a variety of programs and services, including traditional library branches, community outreach, and telephone and online digital channels. Among the Library’s ongoing goals is to improve literacy, educational success and workforce development across our community.
To help achieve these goals, the Library celebrates the joy of reading, fosters learning
and personal growth, connects our users to each other and to the outside world, and inspires people to achieve their full potential – all in an atmosphere that’s accessible and welcoming to all. Essential to our ability to provide this level of community support is an effective and actionable strategy to coordinate outreach through our digital information distribution channels.
To survive in an era of diminishing resources, nonprofit organizations have to be managed as professionally as their for-profit counterparts. That’s why we at Leadership North Carolina (LNC) felt so fortunate to receive an IBM Impact Grant prior to developing our strategic plan for improved fund raising, recruitment and alumni outreach. Our alumnus Steve Pearson of IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs facilitated the grant.
Two IBM consultants helped guide us through a review process prior to the presentation of our strategic plan to the Leadership North Carolina Board of Directors. Before arriving for the review session, IBM’s consultants conducted phone interviews with 16 LNC stakeholders – including our staff, many members of our Board of Directors and key alumni. During our two-day consultation with IBM, we reviewed our SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, identified key focus areas, refined our vision statement, and charted a course to capture measurable impacts of the LNC program experience and engage our alumni more directly.
Today, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) and IBM unveiled a letter signed by more than 200 businesses, associations, and community groups urging the Senate and House of Representatives to modernize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act). First enacted in 1984, the Perkins Act is a federal program that helps states and localities around the country offset career and technical education expenses. It’s not often that such a diverse group speaks with the same voice on an issue. The signatories come from all corners of the country and nearly every walk of life – all rallying around the single goal of ensuring that today’s students are career ready.
Since its inception, the Perkins Act has touched an untold number of students around the country, arming them with the tools needed for jobs that require more than a high school degree but less than a traditional four-year college degree. Many companies in the technology sector are especially keen on seeing the Perkins Act modernized. These companies have long relied on the Perkins Act to help provide them with a skilled and work-ready talent pool that drives continued innovation and growth.
Running a small charity is a constant challenge. Since I left a large NGO to lead Compaid five years ago, juggling budgets has never been easy. Our work supporting people with disabilities throughout the southeast of the UK has grown steadily, but our budget has not. This has made prioritising our expenditures a challenge.
On one hand, we have to meet the immediate needs of our beneficiaries, but to stay relevant for them and continue to meet their changing needs, we must also invest in staff development, information technology and capacity building. Fortunately, the UK’s Small Charities Coalition – a networking, mentoring and support organization for small charities – connected us with the Charity Skills Master Class programme.
Big Data is all the rage these days – from helping doctors diagnose patients by using analytics to sift through decades of historical information, to allowing marketers to learn how to better personalize experiences for customers. But there often isn’t the chance for citizens to see how data might affect their everyday lives up close and personal.
Here at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), we wanted to show citizens how data provides a critical lens for exploring and understanding the design issues that matter, like community health, safety and sustainability. To do this, we devised the upcoming exhibition Chicago: City of Big Data. Opening yesterday, the exhibition explores the digital age of urban design and shows Chicago the effects of Big Data on the city’s lifeblood.
Here at P-TECH – the Pathways in Technology Early College High School – we’re dedicated to preparing our students for long-term success. For some, that will mean moving directly into middle-skill employment – the booming economic sector that promises 14 million new jobs over the next 10 years. For others, it will mean pursuing four-year degrees (and beyond) after completing their no-cost Associate in Applied Science degrees after six years at P-TECH. And for all of our graduates, we expect long-term success to include service to communities as earners, tax payers, heads of households, mentors and role models. The P-TECH “experiment” is working.
P-TECH’s story continues to be told because it’s a story worth telling. Begun in 2011, new chapters of our narrative are being written in Chicago and New York City, and across Connecticut and New York State. P-TECH is on the move.
The State of Connecticut will open our first P-TECH-model grades 9 to 14 school in Norwalk this September. The six-year Norwalk Early College Academy (NECA) is being developed as a public-private partnership among the Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk Community College and IBM, and will graduate students with both a high school diploma and a free Associate in Applied Science degree. Students at NECA will be paired with an IBM mentor and will be first in line for jobs at IBM upon graduation.
NECA will be only the first of many planned P-TECH schools across the state – each school partnered with one of Connecticut’s growth employers in such industries as advanced manufacturing, biotech, health care and insurance. As I mentioned in this
year’s State of the State address, these innovative P-TECH schools will play a critical
role in keeping Connecticut at the forefront in public education as they help to ensure
that our young people are prepared for the successful pursuit of higher education and meaningful careers.