What You Should Know:
– The White House Office of Science and Technology and the U.S. Department of Energy teams up with IBM, and others to fight the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) using supercomputers.
– The COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium pooling supercomputing capacity to help researchers everywhere better understand COVID-19, its treatments, and potential cures.
– These high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling.
IBM is bringing the power of supercomputers into the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the company announced a collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and many others to launch the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. Together, the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium will deliver an unprecedented amount of computing power to help researchers everywhere better understand COVID-19, its treatments, and potential cures.
How Can Supercomputers Help Fight COVID-19?
Fighting COVID-19 will require extensive research in areas like bioinformatics, epidemiology, and molecular modeling to understand the threat we’re facing and form strategies to address it. This work demands a massive amount of computational capacity.
By pooling the supercomputing capacity under a consortium of partners, the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium helps aggregate computing capabilities from the world’s most powerful and advanced computers to help COVID-19 researchers execute complex computational research programs to help fight the virus.
Consortium partners include:
– Amazon Web Services
– Google Cloud
– Massachusetts Institute of Technology
– Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
– Department of Energy National Laboratories
– Argonne National Laboratory
– Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
– Los Alamos National Laboratory
– Oak Ridge National Laboratory
– Sandia National Laboratories
– National Science Foundation
The Consortium is currently providing broad access to 16 systems with more than 330 petaflops, 775,000 CPU cores, 34,000 GPUs, and counting.
Call for Researchers to Submit COVID-19 Research Proposals
Researchers are invited to submit COVID-19 related research proposals to the consortium via this online portal, which will then be reviewed for matching with computing resources from one of the partner institutions. An expert panel comprised of top scientists and computing researchers will work with proposers to assess the public health benefit of the work, with emphasis on projects that can ensure rapid results. Proposal teams should expect to produce a regular blog of their activities during the course of their work and should further expect to publish results at the end of the work.
Supercomputer Identify Compounds That Could Guide Researchers to a Cure
IBM Summit, the most powerful supercomputer on the planet, has already enabled researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee to simulate 8,000 compounds in a matter of days to model which could impact that infection process by binding to the virus’s spike, and have identified 77 small-molecule compounds, such as medications and natural compounds, that have shown the potential to impair COVID-19’s ability to dock with and infect host cells.
“Summit was needed to rapidly get the simulation results we needed. It took us a day or two whereas it would have taken months on a normal computer,” said Jeremy Smith, Governor’s Chair at the University of Tennessee, director of the UT/ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics, and principal researcher in the study. “Our results don’t mean that we have found a cure or treatment for COVID-19. We are very hopeful, though, that our computational findings will both inform future studies and provide a framework that experimentalists will use to further investigate these compounds. Only then will we know whether any of them exhibit the characteristics needed to mitigate this virus.”
The Consortium welcomes additional members to join that are capable of contributing significant compute resources to the pool to support COVID-19 research.