DreamLab : The present global pandemic can leave you feeling helpless and as if you’re not doing enough to combat the spread of coronavirus.
However, if you own a smartphone; as 79% of the UK population does; there is a simple method you can help.
DreamLab is a Vodafone Foundation; and Imperial College London app that leverages the power of your smartphone to aid study into diseases such as cancer.
All you have to do is download the software and leave it running on your smartphone overnight while you’re not using it:
the program uses the device’s processing power to create a virtual supercomputer that does the study.
What problem does DreamLab really solve?
Huge research projects have been placed in the cloud by the research partners; Each project has millions (up to 26 million!); of individual micro-problems that must be calculated in order to understand and make sense of the data.
When you start DreamLab, you’re downloading one of these issues and solving it with the processing power of your phone.
Each person’s phone works on a different problem; despite the fact that each task is duplicated (two persons each perform the identical computation); so that the research partners may be confident that the findings sent back are correct.
DreamLab is presently working to accelerate coronavirus and cancer research.
Some of the studies hope to find current medications that can be repurposed for coronavirus or cancer treatment (for drugs already in therapeutic use; their approval for use as therapies carries fewer risks; substantially lower costs and involve shorter timescales than developing completely new drugs).
Other efforts seek to better understand cancer by focusing on a patient’s DNA profile rather than the tissue in which the cancer first manifested itself.
This novel method of research is made feasible by the combination of a huge community (you, our DreamLab users) with big data analysis.
How DreamLab uses mobile data
Because the DreamLab app relies on the cloud to download and upload research topics; it requires an internet connection to function. You have the option of using DreamLab through your home network and/or your mobile network.
You have complete control over your data usage and can set a monthly data limit. DreamLab will continue to solve problems until the time limit you specify is reached, at which point it will cease.
Your privacy and DreamLab
Your phone’s personal information is not accessed by DreamLab.
It can’t take over or acquire access to other areas of your phone like other apps you download and use. It just makes use of the phone’s processing capability to perform calculations.
To set up and use DreamLab, you don’t need to enter any personal information.
Note that the app asks for ‘pictures; media, and files permission’ on Android devices in order to temporarily keep the tiny research problems while they are being calculated by your phone. DreamLab will only look for these issues in the files directory on your phone. It doesn’t have access to your images or other media.