World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer IBM Summit, joins into the Fight Against COVID-19. In collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy and industry leaders, IBM is helping launch the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. This will bring forth an unprecedented amount of computing power – Over 330 petaflops, 775,000 CPU cores, 34,000 GPUs, and counting to help researchers everywhere better understand COVID-19, its treatments and potential cures.
Summit supercomputer, debuted 16 years ago, is the first supercomputer to break the petascale barrier and went on to play a critical role in sequencing the human genome.
Viruses infect cells by binding to them and using a ‘spike’ to inject their genetic material into the host cell. Since COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus and understanding this virus is very important in the fight to find a cure. To understand the new biological compounds, like viruses, researchers in wet labs grow the micro-organism and see how it reacts in real-life to the introduction of new compounds. Without computer simulation, this is not only a slow process but also there are several challenges. Digital simulations can be used to narrow down the range of potential variables.
Speed is very crucial in today’s global fight against COVID-19 to find drugs for treatment. When trying to understand new biological compounds, Computer simulations can examine how different variables react with different viruses. Such simulations are time-intensive when each of these individual variables can be comprised of millions or even billions of unique pieces of data and compounded with the need to be run multiple simulations.
IBM summit is 1 million times more powerful than world faster laptop. Using IBM Summit, researchers were able 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 spread to host cells.
With inputs from https://www.ibm.com/covid19/hpc-consortium.
Picture source: IBM