The Vodafone Foundation, in partnership with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, has launched a new smartphone app called DreamLab, which is designed to help speed up cancer research.

The app was designed by B2Cloud, and while it's currently only available on Android, there are plans to build an iOS app as well. The app was designed to turn smartphones into a supercomputer network.

When smartphones are plugged in and charged, the app will automatically download a segment of genetic sequencing profiles stored by the Garvan Institute on the Amazon Web servers. After that information is processed by the smartphone, results are sent back to researchers, who will use it in their research.

Users are able to choose which cancer research they support, including breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic. They also can decide how much mobile data they want to use each month, with options starting at 50 MB. Vodafone says that it will waive fees for that data for its five million Australian customers.

In fact, according to Garvan, having 100,000 users will help speed up number crunching by a whopping 3,000 times. This will help a lot considering the fact that the institute is generating between one and two petabytes each year.

"We could have [used computers] but given the millions of smartphones that are connected to our network, there is much more computing power than any computer. Also, you can see nowadays a smartphone has a computing power that is almost equivalent to a PC," said Inaki Berroeta, CEO of Vodafone Australia, in an interview with ZDNet.

The app isn't exactly the first of its kind. Similar initiatives called SETI@HOME and Folding @Home were made to help make contact with aliens and to help cure diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

You can head here to download the DreamLab Android app.

Via: ZDNet

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