TSC
TSC Homepage
TSC Community Forum
Company: The project is sponsored by The Rothberg Institute for Childhood Diseases.
Project: One highly focused project, TSC

The Rothberg Institute for Childhood Diseases is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for children suffering from Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). The work on TSC may also have direct implications on cancer research. It is hoped that the approach they are using will serve a prototype for work on other orphan diseases.

TSC is a genetic disorder that leads to benign tumors in multiple organs, including the brain, kidneys, heart, eyes, lungs and other organs. During the first few years, the severity of TSC can range from mild skin abnormalities to, in severe cases, seizures, mental retardation or renal failure. For more information about TSC please visit www.tsalliance.org

The TSC project uses the Sengent D2OL software client. The client is easy to use, and has exceptional graphics and optional information if you choose to view it. The client is available for Windows 98/2K/NT/MQ/XP, Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris. On Windows it runs in the system tray, but in all versions it also has a graphical interface and a command-line interface to allow you to watch what it's doing.

TSC does not require a continuous Internet connection. It automatically caches work units, and the size of the cache is adjustable, although I have found the default more than adequate. If the system is rebooted, or the client is otherwise halted, all work on the current set of conformers is lost, up to 5% of a work unit. Teams are supported. Team and individual statistics are posted.

There is a TSC Forum, http://www.childhooddiseases.org/cgi-tsc/ultimatebb.cgi It is fairly small, and fairly quiet compared to some of its larger brethren. The advisor on TSC is Dr. Bonnie Rothberg, a regular contributor. There are technical threads for the clients under various platforms.

One of the most unusual features about the TSC project is their focus on the TSC disease. They are funded to pursue the drug development process, all the way up to IND submission, (to the US Food and Drug Administration) until May, 2005. Every quarter the best docking results will be tested in cell and animal models of disease, and promising candidates will start development, leading up to the submission of the IND.

The TS Alliance, www.tsaliance.org, is committed to recruiting doctors and patients for the clinical trials once the IND has been submitted.

Reviewed 16 July 2002 by
Jim Lellman
(lellman@pobox.com)

TSC
TSC Homepage
TSC Community Forum
Pentium 3: 100Hz
256MB
Win98
cable modem

I have been running this program for over three months now and returned 2800 processing results. I have had no serious problems with the program.

The program has an adjustable cache for 10 to 100 work units. My computer processes about 30 per day. I've left my setting at 30 (the original default) and -- as far as I can tell -- that has carried me through all service outages with only a tiny amount of crunching downtime. Since April 1, they have had at least one major software upgrade and one migration to new servers.

I have participated in the United Devices project for much longer than this one, and on more computers, and I would say Community TSC has done a much better job getting through periods of service problems. Granted, this is a newer project and they don't have nearly as many participants as UD, but they seem to have done a considerably better job managing their glitches.

One minor annoyance with TSC: It does seems to occasionally hog resources more than UD, especially (I think) when it does disk and connection functions. It's not uncommon for me to experience brief moments of slow system response on other work I'm doing. Even the display of the little Windows hourglass.. like, "Wait for me. I'm working here."

Another troubling item. Whenever TSC is running with Internet access not denied on my ZoneAlarm, ZA reports it's "Listening to port(s): TCP: xxxx" I've heard from the application support chief and other voices on their boards that this is not a problem, since the program will only communicate with their TSC servers. I may be too paranoid, but I'm bothered by the implied security risk of having this port ALWAYS open and listening.

Reviewed 17 July 2002 by
Gary Wilhelm
(WilhelmGGW@aol.com)

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