Supercomputer alliance against coronavirus

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The United States is uniting its supercomputer powers in the fight against the corona pandemic. A consortium is providing gigantic computing capacities to worldwide research for the search for effective drugs and a vaccine.

It usually takes years before a vaccine against a new virus is developed, and medication is often only available many months after an outbreak. The world doesn’t have that much time to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s why the most powerful tech companies in the United States have joined forces to provide unprecedented levels of research to cloud and supercomputer computing power.

Under the auspices of the US government, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and IBM have joined forces to form the “Covid-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium”. Nasa and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are also there.

For this purpose, the powerful US Department of Energy provides its capacities, which control some of the most powerful supercomputer systems in the world. The current number one, the Summit of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is one of them.

Huge computing power

According to its own statements, the consortium currently has 16 supercomputer systems, which together represent a computing power of 330 petaflops. The consortium has so far left open how the cloud capacities of Amazon, Microsoft or Google are to be measured.

“Simulations and machine learning systems are very important methods in the fight against the virus,” said Andrea Martin from the Munich Watson Center to ZDF.

For example, you can use computer simulations to quickly find out which active pharmaceutical ingredients have an impact and which antibodies can be used to directly attack the virus.

Doctors also use machine learning to recognize patterns of how the virus spreads or which disease courses are likely in which patient groups. Or they are extremely helpful in the targeted search for candidates for drug tests.

Days instead of years

The power of supercomputers “we need to test the effectiveness of medication and develop antibodies,” explains Martin. According to IBM , scientists were able to use the Summit supercomputer to find 77 active ingredients from 8000 different compounds that are promising in the fight against Covid-19. With conventional laboratory research, this would have taken years.

The consortium invites scientists worldwide to use its enormous capacities for their research. You can apply via an online portal where, among other things, you have to describe the goal of your project and estimate the computing resources required.

The consortium also wants to know how much help is needed and how well a research team is prepared. A team of experts consisting of top scientists and computing researchers assess the applications, with a focus on quick results.


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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.