Monday, September 24, 2007

Using Spam Blockers To Target HIV, Too

This article, in the latest issue of BusinessWeek, is very interesting. Quoting the article:

Early this decade, Heckerman was leading a spam-blocking team at Microsoft Research. To build their tool, team members meticulously mapped out thousands of signals that a message might be junk. An e-mail featuring "Viagra," for example, was a good bet to be spam--but things got complicated in a hurry.

If spammers saw that "Viagra" messages were getting zapped, they switched to V1agra, or Vi agra. It was almost as if spam, like a living thing, were mutating.

This parallel between spam and biology resonated for Heckerman, a physician as well as a PhD in computer science. It didn't take him long to realize that his spam-blocking tool could extend far beyond junk e-mail, into the realm of life science. In 2003, he surprised colleagues in Redmond, Wash., by refocusing the spam-blocking technology on one of the world's deadliest, fastest- mutating conundrums: HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.

It seems that this article can help us understand how IT is joining with traditional areas of study ... so how must IT education mutate to adapt?

No comments: