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Science  01 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5556, pp. 771
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5556.771e

Researchers have already harnessed the power of distributed computing to stalk extraterrestrials and pursue cures for cancer. Now scientists at Oxford University plan to use idle PCs around the world to screen some 3.5 billion compounds for potential antianthrax drugs. The anthrax bacterium produces proteins that assemble on the surface of a cell, forming a toxin that enters and slays the cell. The project's goal is to find molecules that thwart assembly. Like SETI@home and Oxford's search for anticancer drugs, launched last April (Science, 13 April 2001, p. 175), participants download a screen saver that runs jobs for the project whenever the computer isn't busy. The screen saver is available from co-sponsor Intel.

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