Global Collaboratory

Global Collaboratory

The Global Collaboratory consortium enables students to address urgent social challenges through group problem-solving, using the power of collaborative grid computing.

It builds on the HP and UNESCO Brain Gain Initiative, created to slow the exodus of scientists and academics from Africa and the Middle East. The HP and UNESCO partnership launched a powerful grid computing network

across 20 universities, providing researchers with shared computing power that supports their research. This consortium is led by the CSIR Meraka Institute (South Africa).

Global Collaboratory in Action

Computational chemistry in East Africa

HP helps bring chemistry experiments to students in rural areas of Kenya through online science environments.

Students growing up in rural Kenya can’t do much to fight environmental toxins or the threat of malaria, right? Wrong, says the team at Kenya’s Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.

With funding from the HP Catalyst Initiative as part of the Global Collaboratory Consortium and working together with Kenya’s Strathmore University, Masinde Muliro University is preparing the country’s next generation of scientists to help address these major social challenges.

The University is working with several under-resourced, rural schools in Kenya, which do not have science labs or even electricity. However, the team is working to ensure students at those schools are still able to complete a chemistry syllabus by providing them with online science environments.

The chemistry simulations allow students to see what it’s like to measure and mix chemicals, observe real-time reactions, and record their observations.

Here’s how it works: Open-source chemistry simulations are downloaded onto donated HP mobile technology, and then staff from Masinde Muliro University drives these simulations to schools where they are used on donated battery-powered HP mobile workstations running virtual-experiment software.

Students can perform virtual experiments as if they were in a fully-equipped science lab – measuring and pouring chemicals, observing real-time chemical reactions, and recording results.

During the pilot phase, students reported that the virtual tools provided a relaxed learning environment. Based on that success, the University aims to extend this program to more secondary-level students, and additional science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and related subjects (STEM+) undergraduates and graduates.

This program can benefit students in many other developing and disadvantaged economies. The technology can empower the marginalized, help balance inadequate teacher-to-student ratios, give schools access to low-cost science experiments, and create exciting new learning and research opportunities.

Water quality challenge

The HP Catalyst Initiative enables students a world apart to collaborate on solutions to a global challenge.

Children in two middle schools have rolled up their sleeves to conduct real scientific research into water pollution, funded by the HP Catalyst Initiative as part of the Global Collaboratory Consortium.

The two schools are working together although they are a world apart. One is in Stamford, Connecticut, USA (Scofield Magnet Middle School) while the other is in Jinan, Shandong Province, China (Shandong University Middle School).

The American students are tracking data on water quality, topography, drainage, flora, and fauna. They also work with community organizations to investigate the impact of communities and urban development on the local waterways.

The Chinese students are studying the nearby Huangshui River Basin, one of the most polluted river systems in China. By working collaboratively, these youngsters are casting an international spotlight on the growing issue of poor water quality.

Virtual science labs allow students to access resources, explore questions, obtain authentic data, and share results.

Throughout the project, students will learn how to conduct water quality tests; create maps and analyze data around water quality; learn how to use GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to track, measure, and analyze collected data; collaborate with local water quality experts around water quality; share results between the two schools; and more.

The kids are testing pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform, turbidity, water flow, water depth, and temperature, using GPS, HP mobile calculating lab probes, HP calculators, notebook computers, and GIS software to document their findings.

Real research with real global collaboration, along with direct exposure to scientists and engineers, helps these students make connections between problems in their communities and the science involved in solving these problems.

Surveys held by the schools show increased student engagement and interest in science-related subjects. By practicing skills and techniques that can help them in future science-based or environmental careers – they are also addressing urgent global challenges.

Children in two middle schools have rolled up their sleeves to conduct real scientific research into water pollution, funded by the HP Catalyst Initiative as part of the Global Collaboratory Consortium.