Multimedia Reporter

IBM is bringing supercomputers into the global fight against Covid-19. The tech giant has launched the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium in collaboration with the U.S. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The consortium will help aggregate computing capabilities from some of the most powerful and advanced computers in the world to help researchers everywhere better understand Covid-19, its treatments, and potential cures.

The consortium connects an unprecedented amount of supercomputing power—16 systems with more than 330 petaflops, 775000 CPU (central processing unit) cores, 34000 GPUs (graphics processing units), and counting—to help researchers everywhere tackle this urgent challenge. These high-performance computing (HPC) systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling within hours or days. These are experiments that—if handled on slower, traditional computing platforms—would take months to complete.

Accelerating discovery through computation

There are two critically important applications of this computing power: The development of predictive models to assess how the disease is progressing, and the modeling of new potential therapies and a possible vaccine. This new effort builds on the promising uses of supercomputing to fight Covid-19, and could accelerate scientific discoveries to combat the pandemic.

According to Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research, “by pooling the supercomputing capacity under a consortium of partners… we can offer extraordinary supercomputing power to scientists, medical researchers, and government agencies as they respond to and mitigate this global emergency.”

Together with its partners, IBM will coordinate efforts across the consortium to evaluate proposals from top institutions, as well as provide access to HPC capacity for projects that can make the most immediate impact.

“In a time of uncertainty, I want to offer this promise: IBM will continue to explore everything in our power to use our technology and expertise to drive meaningful progress in this global fight,” Gil said.