Oxford University and the United Kingdom plan to use large networks of IBM computers to aid cancer research in Europe.
Oxford and government researchers have selected IBM to create a large grid for diagnosing and sharing research into cures for breast cancer, the company said Monday.
Dubbed eDiamond, the grid will be used to create and share a large database of digital mammograms among radiologists, doctors and others throughout Europe, and eventually worldwide.
Computing grids pool the collective data processing and storage capabilities of large networks of computers with the goal of creating supercomputer-like performance with easy access to data.
The eDiamond grid will be established to initially create quick access to mammograms, in order to increase the early detection of cancer rates. Researchers will also use the grid to conduct more advanced studies by mining through its large number of images.
The grid will initially connect databases of five hospitals and screening centers in the United Kingdom. Over time, the grid will expand to 92 screening centers in the United Kingdom.
Over time, eDiamond could be used to establish a worldwide digital mammography grid by connecting the United Kingdom with France, Germany and Japan; and a United States grid, created by the University of Pennsylvania and IBM, IBM said.
Once used mainly by academic researchers, grid computing is quickly becoming associated with use by businesses, such as banks or manufacturers, which require large amounts of computing power.
IBM has also been targeting grids as part of a larger effort to create autonomous computers and computer systems that can help maintain themselves with less human interaction.
The U.K. grid will use about $6 million worth of servers, storage and computer workstations from IBM.