IBM turns supercomputing power to fighting coronavirus

Supercomputers join the global fight against Covid-19			Mar 23 2020

Other companies, such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft, as well as various academic institutions, are also "contributing many different things", the president said.

Getting a supercomputer to fight a medical disease may sound odd. This comes as an initiative from the White House, which started a partnership between the various parties and launched the COVID-19 HPC Consortium.

The project assembles 16 supercomputing systems - accounting for 330 petaflops of processing power, 775,000 CPU cores and 34,000 GPUs - which will be used to drastically reduce the time it takes to model chemical compounds. They are also especially good for conducting research in areas like epidemiology and molecular modeling because the systems mirror the interconnectivity that exists in nature, Director of IBM Research Dario Gil was quoted as saying in the United States media. "These experiments would take years to complete if worked by hand, or months if handled on slower, traditional computing platforms".

Retail giant Amazon's Cloud arm AWS has dedicated $20 million to support COVID-19 research while Microsoft has already announced a number of different initiatives.

In a blog post, Dario Gil, director of IBM Research, announced that the company is working with the White House, the US Department of Energy and others in the government to pool their supercomputer power.

Similar access to high-performance computing resources is being made available to researchers via Google Cloud HPC, the IBM Research WSC Cluster, NASA's High-End Computing Capability, Rensselaer's AIMOS supercomputer system, the MIT/Massachusetts Green HPC Center, NSF's Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (which can provide access to Frontera, the fastest supercomputer deployed on a US academic campus) and the five national labs. Microsoft wants to "make sure researchers working to combat COVID-19 have access to the tools they need" by expanding access to its Azure Cloud, according to John Kahan, Microsoft's global head for AI for Health Programme.

Some of the most advanced supercomputers in the world will be tasked with helping researchers crunch through enormous amounts of data in the hope of discovering a potential treatment or cure for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. They will work together with NIH and all the people who work on this.

But tremendous help from IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, MIT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Department of Energy's, the National Science Foundation and NASA.



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