RALEIGH, N.C. – Coastal Federal Credit Union is going out on the Web where no financial institution has ever ventured before. The $1.5 billion CU is the first to join with IBM in the World Community Grid, a global computing project that connects the unused processing power of computers around the world and allows researchers to run massive, ongoing calculations aimed at helping address such issues as disease and the environment. "World Community Grid embodies the same cooperative principles that serve as the backbone for credit unions everywhere," says Larry Wilson, Coastal's president and CEO. "Just as our members pool their financial resources to better themselves as a community, World Community Grid allows us to share our technological resources to better humanity as a whole." A set of desktop computers which had been sitting idle as surplus equipment are now helping process information for the global grid's current AIDS therapy research project. The computers and their Internet connection are completely independent of computers containing member information. "Coastal has grown up with IBM in Research Triangle Park for almost 40 years, and we're proud to be taking steps together with them on this important philanthropic project that costs nothing and gives so much quality research to the world," says IBM spokesman Dave Benevides. The credit union is also promoting the program to its tech-savvy employees and members, encouraging them to link their home computers into the grid. "We'd love to see more companies and individuals get involved with this," Wilson says. "At any given moment, millions of computers are running, but using a fraction of their processing power. By recovering just part of that underutilized power, we can help contribute to the next major scientific breakthrough."

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