The United Nations Institute for Training and Research, UNITAR, the University of Geneva, UNIGE, and the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN (hereafter referred to collectively as "the Partners") have formally agreed to collaborate on a Citizen Cyberscience Centre Project.
Citizen CyberscienceThe Partners have a common interest in, and experience of, developing Citizen Cyberscience applications for humanitarian and fundamental research. Citizen Cyberscience provides scientists with an inexpensive form of distributed computing power that is complementary to Grid technology. This is especially true for processing-intensive problems, as illustrated by the LHC@home project developed by CERN and partners for Large Hadron Collider beam studies. It has been demonstrated through collaborative activities between CERN, UNIGE, and various United Nations initiatives and NGOs – specifically through the “Africa@home” project which was initiated at CERN, that Citizen Cyberscience can provide individuals and institutions in the developing world with an appropriate low-cost technology for operational service platforms directed at pressing humanitarian challenges.
Such collaborative activities have also illustrated the practical benefits of closer collaboration between scientific and humanitarian partners, in particular for the training of young scientists and IT professionals from the developing world in new information technologies.
The ProjectTo build on these achievements, a Citizen Cyberscience Centre, hosted in the UNITAR offices at CERN is envisioned that provides a sustainable framework to disseminate the technological know-how needed to exploit Citizen Cyberscience more widely in developing regions, for both fundamental science and humanitarian applications. The areas of collaboration include:
- use of Citizen Cyberscience to help local authorities and humanitarian workers in developing regions to use earth imagery acquired from space for emergency response and improved territorial planning and management, including disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change;
- use of Citizen Cyberscience to help scientists discover new drugs for infectious tropical or neglected diseases using computer-aided screening of potential drug compounds, as well as to predict the impact of using such drugs in large-scale epidemiological simulations.
- use of Citizen Cyberscience to enable scientists in developing countries with limited resources to contribute in meaningful ways to international collaborations in fundamental science, such as particle physics and astrophysics.
- providing consultancy to researchers and practitioners interested to apply Cyberscience techniques, in particular directing such groups to the most appropriate form of Cyberscience, be it Grid technology, volunteer computing, or other approaches;
- organizing hands-on workshops that promote the use of Citizen Cyberscience amongst scientists and practitioners in the developing world, in particular by stimulating regional initiatives;
- coordinating and providing technical guidance to multidisciplinary teams developing new Cyberscience applications, typically working on short-term projects lasting 3-6 months;
- creating pedagogical material for the general public, civil society organizations and schools, which complements Citizen Cyberscience projects by providing the scientific context of the projects in an accessible and pedagogical format.