fight aids @ home
December 1, 2000 7:17 AM   Subscribe

fight aids @ home is a program similar to seti@home, it uses your computer's idle resources to accelerate anti-HIV drug design research.
posted by tiaka (4 comments total)
yep. except that entropia is a for-profit corporation, which means that they'll be using your computer's idle resources to further their research, which will most likely go to anti-hiv drugs so expensive only the richest patients in the richest nations will be able to afford them.while i'd certainly like to help aids and hiv research in my own way, and money is certainly not a bad thing in itself (and i'm sure the people behind entropia are quite quite nice), i think there are probably tons of more socially responsible ways of going about things.
posted by lia at 10:18 AM on December 1, 2000

Well, if you don't think drugs are of any help or hold any potential in this area then I could see that, lia. And you're right, there are certainly other ways to donate your time and effort.

But if you do think drugs hold some promise, either as a treatment or a building block towards a cure, then make no mistake, they will never be developed by anything other than for-profit corporations.

There are no cheap new drugs in any field. To test any drug to FDA standard is a billion dollar plus endeavour. There's no way around that. And every new indication (approved, tested use) for a drug costs many more millions of dollars to have approved - even if the drug has been off-patent for years (like aspirin).
posted by mikel at 10:40 AM on December 1, 2000

Actually, the research is being done by a University; who have developed the payload program. Entropia provides a mechanism for downloading such payload programs to however many compuers run their demon. But Entropia is in fact a private company, and they have the ability to alter what your computer is doing by downloading different payload programs any time at all. They're doing this AIDS research now, but once they've sucked in a few tens of thousands (or more) PC owners to run their demon during idle time, their plan is to sell the use of the system to anyone who comes along, to use to calculate whatever they want. And it may be less than noble.

AIDS research today, but tomorrow who knows what? They can run anything they want on your computer; you don't get a choice and you don't get told when they change it. (And if the payload program has a bug, your computer crashes.) You may find that your computer is being used to do detailed statistical analysis of marketing surveys or something equally sordid. I'm not even sure you can find out what it is that it's running.

Entropia is a ripoff. They're using AIDS research as a cover to try to get people to run their demon. But as soon as they get enough systems and someone comes along with money to buy time on the resulting distributed super computer, AIDS research will stop and something else will start running instead.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:09 PM on December 1, 2000

Oh - that's a different thing. I didn't realize that part of it.
posted by mikel at 12:27 PM on December 1, 2000

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