A more technical version of how it works.
Garvan uploads a large research problem to the Amazon Web Services cloud server. Once a user has downloaded and set up the DreamLab app, their phone will download a tiny piece of the research problem (hundreds of KB). A novel algorithm built by Garvan researchers in the DreamLab app, allows the phone to solve the research problem, using the phone’s computing power. The algorithm enables the comparison of the functional similarities and differences in mutated genes from different cancer patients (de-identified), to enable creation of a library of cancers grouped by their genetic profile. The result is then sent back from the phone to the cloud server, for the Garvan team to analyse These patterns can help researchers identify subgroups of patients who share similar mutation profiles, who could therefore potentially respond to the same therapies (for example, a patient with pancreatic cancer who has a mutation pattern similar to a breast cancer patient, could respond better to a breast cancer drug). The combination of a large community (that’s you!), coupled with big data analytic algorithms, makes this revolutionary form of research possible.
How is DreamLab different to other grid computing systems and apps?
Since 2002, BOINC and other platforms have enabled people from around the world to donate the processing power of their desktop computers and gaming consoles to help solve research problems. The BOINC platform was extended to Android devices in 2013. DreamLab uses a world first and custom built solution (not using BOINC) that supports Garvan’s cancer research project.
Why isn’t DreamLab available for iPhone?
We are working to make DreamLab available on iPhone. We’ll keep you updated.