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(Pocket-lint) - Vodafone has joined forces with Imperial College London in the ongoing fight against cancer and you can help. You can lend your smartphone's processing power to researchers to help speed up necessary calculations while you sleep.

The Vodafone Foundation has developed an application, called DreamLab, for both Android and iOS platforms. When you go to bed and have your phone on charge, just tell the app it can use your device for calculations and the phone does the rest.

Star Wars' John Boyega even shows you how in a video advert posted by Vodafone (above).

Cloud-based processing can greatly speed up the millions of calculations needed for research. For example, an Octa-core desktop PC running 23-hours a day could take 300 years to process the same amount of data as a network of 100,000 smartphones running six hours over night can in just three months.

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A modern smartphone can solve up to 24,000 problems in a night, when charged and plugged in.

So lending the use of your phone when you aren't using it yourself can make a massive difference to the cancer research teams at Imperial College London.

"We are currently generating huge volumes of health data around the world every day, but just a fraction of this is being put to use. By harnessing the processing power of thousands of smartphones, we can tap into this invaluable resource and look for clues in the datasets," said Dr the college's Dr Kirill Veselkov.

"Ultimately, this could help us to make better use of existing drugs and find more effective combinations of drugs tailored to patients, thereby improving treatments."

If you are a Vodafone customer, using DreamLab does not impact on your data allowance. If you are with another network, you can choose how much data you wish to donate each night. When run over Wi-Fi it doesn't impact on mobile data at all so provides essential processing power at no cost to you.

You can download DreamLab for iOS on the iTunes App Store or for Android on Google Play.

Writing by Rik Henderson.
Sections Vodafone Apps