Open source enables large distributed science projects in a way that closed, proprietary software never will– here is some interesting news from IBM:
ARMONK, N.Y. – October 3,2011 -IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced that the company is donating a portion of its Blue Spruce Project code to the Dojo Foundation’s Open Cooperative Web Framework (OpenCoweb). The Blue Spruce technology, which was developed in the IBM labs, enables real-time cooperative web solutions.
It is already being utilized in an online data exploration system for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPDGeneR), and to create customized solutions for the healthcare industry by iTel Companies, Inc.
The OpenCoweb Framework is a key component of the system utilized by COPDGeneR investigators, correlating clinic and medical imaging findings to increase understanding of the disease processes and the underlying genetic factors. COPDGeneR collaborators from around the globe can review and compare the clinical data and CT scan images of more than 10,000 individuals. The system provides access to selected cases in real-time. Through graphic representations, the investigators are able to study outlying cases and select cases for further study in order to identify the features and genetic factors that influence the development of specific abnormalities seen in patients with COPD. The cooperative web methodology of the Framework increases the data available to researchers and provides tools for data analysis. This has decreased repetitive requests for the same raw data from multiple individuals and opens new possibilities for data mining by the researchers.
“The online system we’ve been using on the COPDGene patients is exciting and extremely impressive,” said James D. Crapo, MD and COPDGene Executive Committee Member. “With the online collaboration capabilities we now have at our fingertips, we’re in constant communication and are uncovering key trends that will help us to better understand the disease.”
The code that was donated to the OpenCoweb Framework is part of IBM’s Project Blue Spruce. Project Blue Spruce allows people to simultaneously interact and update content in real-time via a web browser on computers and the Apple iPad and includes video chat. For example, using IBM Project Blue Spruce, a sales rep could in a browser conduct a video chat with a client while they complete an online sales form.
iTel Companies, Inc. is using the IBM Blue Spruce Project code for its mental health offering, iTelepsych. iTelepsych will allow patients to virtually meet and communicate with psychologists, psychiatrists and master therapists via video conferencing for real-time medical treatment from any location with an internet connection.
The offering also provides medical professionals the ability to expedite critical decision making by allowing them to simultaneously manipulate data and collaboratively discuss brain images and lab results. iTelepsych can be customized for individual healthcare providers, and can provide a cohesive experience for the patient by being the portal to HIPPA compliant telehealth consultations.
Fig 1: Search Results for Breast Cancer Patients that also had COPD.
Fig 2: Actual MRI images for a specific patient viewable on an iPad.
“iTelepsych helps doctors easily establish a practice with patients who are not able to leave their homes or attend typical office for appointments. Now, with Blue Spruce technology from IBM, people can access the mental healthcare they need even if they cannot come to a doctor’s office,” said Eric Greenman, MD and chief executive officer iTel Companies.
“IBM believes an ongoing commitment to open source and cooperative applications is a critical component for building a smarter, healthier planet,” said David Boloker, chief technology officer, Emerging Technologies, IBM. “We are pleased to open code and drive innovation in partnership with the Dojo Foundation Project in an effort to streamline and enhance research and real-time interactive analysis of participant data.”
See a video demo here
For more information on IBM’s open source initiatives, please visit: http://www.ibm.com/opensource