IBM has joined forces with the White House to make available supercomputing powers to help researchers (true heroes) with better understanding of the disease and to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19.
IBM is all set to team up with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the US Department of Energy for the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. Dario Gil, Director of IBM research said that the Consortium will make available 16 such computers namely IBM’s Summit supercomputer that consists a total of greater than 330 petaflops, 34,000 GPUs, and 775,000 CPU cores.
The High Performance Consortium has the supercomputing capacity of IBM, Argonne National Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, the National Science Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and none other than NASA, and several other tech enterprises.
Additionally, Dario Gil mentioned, “These high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling,” he added, “These experiments would take years to complete if worked by hand, or months if handled on slower, traditional computing platforms.”
Another interesting fact here is, in addition to offering assistance to researchers in the US, the consortium is all set to evaluate proposals from all over the globe and is ready to make the supercomputing capacity available to promising projects, especially the ones, “that can have the most immediate impact.”
More on the progress front
IBM’s Summit supercomputer by now is being used by ORNL to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. The progress report until now shows that researchers so far have been able to identify 77 small-molecule drug compounds that might get a green signal from ORNL in the fight against the deadly SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, a crucial element responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak.
Until now, the supercomputer has simulated 8,000 compounds to check for the ones that are most likely to construct the primary “spike” protein of the coronavirus, making it inefficient to contaminate the host cells.
ORNL mentioned that the idea was conceived based on the interest related to the Coronavirus’ entry point into a host cell.
Micholas Smith, a doctorate from the University of Tennessee (UT)/ORNL, created a model of the coronavirus spike protein and named it S-protein. The study was carried out based on the former studies of the structure.
At the time of writing, the WHO had recorded over 294,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases from all over the world, and the death toll had risen to almost 13,000 as a result of the COVID-19 infection. The US alone reported 15,000 cases and 200 deaths.