How Supercomputers Are Helping to Fight Covid-19
A host of companies, including IBM, Microsoft, and Google, along with universities and national labs have teamed up to form the COVID-19 High Performance Computing (HPC) Consortium. This new partnership is designed to provide scientists with supercomputing resources as they figure out how to combat the coronavirus-caused disease known as covid-19.
Faced with a rapidly spreading illness, scientists can create thousands of models on supercomputers in order to better understand the epidemic, characterize the virus, and devise potential vaccines and drug treatments. The organizers of the new consortium will provide 16 supercomputing systems to researchers, as well as a community to engage in the fight together.
“The benefit of having the consortium is to speed up and accelerate the scientific discovery that has to happen in order to develop a vaccine, understand the virus, and eventually kill it,” Michael Rosenfeld, vice president of Data Centric Solutions at IBM, told Gizmodo. He said that high-performance supercomputers might be able to do in minutes or hours what regular computers do in days, months, or years.
The consortium currently represents supercomputers from companies including IBM, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft; universities including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and Department of Energy National Laboratories including Lawrence Livermore, Oak Ridge, and Los Alamos, as well as NASA and the National Science Foundation. The consortium is encouraging covid-19 researchers to submit proposals through a central portal, which a steering committee will review in order to connect researchers with the right supercomputing resources.