There have been some great stories around the use of mainframe technology during this Mainframe 50th Anniversary year to enhance the speed and productivity of business operations for major retailers, finance organizations, banks and more. But what many people haven't heard as much about are the research projects currently underway to promote data sharing, and some important healthcare initiatives.
IBM Research is working on three new projects for scientific & data research. In healthcare, the mainframe is being used for research to help alleviate the suffering of HIV and Arthritis patients. The analytic capabilities of the mainframe are being applied to these key research projects. These new projects are either First of a Kind (FOAK) or provide the scientific community with new analytic capabilities to solve difficult challenges. The projects are:
Data sharing: IBM Research is currently working with various municipalities and key business partners on a FOAK project that can bring data together and help state and local agencies migrate IT operations to a cloud environment running on System z. This new environment can help improve data sharing between departments, agencies, and municipalities to improve citizen services.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Although there are treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis, only 30 percent of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients respond to anti-TNF therapy. IBM Research and the Arthritis foundation are harnessing mainframe computing power to collect data and develop predictive models that will help doctors know which patients are most likely to respond to anti-TNF therapy. A someone who suffers from Arthritis, I'm very excited about the possibilities of this research. The more data collected for analysis, the better the chances seem to be of finding suitable therapies to relieve suffering.
HIV Research: the Government of Ghana is partnering with IBM and Yale to use the IBM mainframe to help overcome the challenges facing researchers to end mother-to-child HIV transmission. Healthcare workers in Ghana will use mobile devices to collect data that will then be uploaded and analyzed on an IBM mainframe to help provide key insights for proactive treatment and prevention programs.
Predicting Alzheimer’s: IBM DREAM Challenge: More than five million Americans and almost 40 million people globally are affected by Alzheimer’s disease, but predicting or identifying those individuals most likely to develop the disease is not currently possible. To help researchers identify better indicators and biomarkers for cognitive decline, the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease, Sage Bionetworks, IBM and DREAM have embarked on the Alzheimer’s Disease Big Data DREAM Challenge. Driven by IBM System z, the challenge is intended to disrupt “business as usual” research with an innovative big data approach.
With the speed, security and processing power of the mainframe behind these research projects, there's no doubt that the IBM Mainframe will be an engine of progress not just for allowing organizations to keep pace with the rate of business change, but also to help end human suffering.