The Vodafone Foundation and Imperial College London have released a free app that uses your phone’s processing power to help tackle the virus

During quarantine, it can be incredibly easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless as a result of forces beyond your control. But now, the Vodafone Foundation is teaming up with Imperial College London to deliver a simple app that allows you to contribute to the fight against coronavirus using just your mobile phone.
The free app, called DreamLab, works by harnessing the processing power of the downloader’s idle mobile phone, typically while the phone is charging overnight. Using AI, this network of idle phones can then form a virtual supercomputer, working together to help identify key anti-viral components in existing foods and medicines.
By combining their processing power, this mobile phone network can process an enormous amount of information very quickly, rapidly accelerating the research process.
“There are existing drugs out there that might work to treat it [COVID-19], but we need to do complex analyses using artificial intelligence to find out which molecule or combinations of molecules might be able to disrupt the virus when it’s inside the body,” explained lead researcher Dr Kirill Veselkov from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London. “All of this takes a huge amount of computing power and DreamLab enables us to do this important work in a much shorter timeframe.”
DreamLab was originally designed to support cancer research, but it has been updated with a new AI to help redirect it against the coronavirus.
“Vodafone Foundation’s award winning DreamLab app has already supported discoveries through cancer research thanks to our customers’ participation, and we want to do our part now as society battles against COVID-19,” said Joakim Reiter, Vodafone Foundation trustee and external affairs director.
The app does not contribute to monthly data usage and does not have access to personal data.
It is free to download in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Romania, with more locations to be available soon, says Vodafone.
How are UK operators helping to combat the coronavirus pandemic? Check out our definitive live list for the latest updates
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