The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted multiple business events as well as high-tech product launches in the recent months and has all the chances to disrupt the world’s economy quite drastically. So in a bid to better better understand the disease and develop treatments as well as potential cures, IBM this week established the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, which will be enlisting the United States' various public and private supercomputers and compute clusters to run research projects related to the disease.

Together with IBM, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy and others, the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium pools together 16 supercomputers with that together offer a total of over 330 PetaFLOPS of compute power, a combination of 775,000 CPU cores as well as 34,000 GPUs. The systems will be used to run research simulations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling. All of these virtual experiments are meant to greatly speed up research of the COVID-19 disease as well as possible treatments. Eventually, the knowledge obtained during this work could allow to develop vaccines and other treatments against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus itself. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 HPC Consortium will first prioritize projects that can have ‘the most immediate impact’. Researchers are advised to submit their proposals to the consortium via a special online portal.

So far, IBM’s Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has enabled researchers from ORNL and the University of Tennessee to screen 8,000 compounds to discover those that are most likely to bind to the main “spike” protein of the coronavirus, and thus prevent it from infecting host cells. To date, scientists recommended 77 promising small-molecule mixtures that could now be evaluated experimentally.

The pool of supercomputers participating in IBM’s COVID-19 HPC Consortium currently includes machines operated by IBM, Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), Argonne National Lab (ANL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and other technology companies (including Amazon, Google, Cloud, and Microsoft).

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Sources: IBM, COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium

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  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - link

    As I understand it, they already started testing some antivirals in NYC today, so I have to wonder if this is just going to come up with anything truly useful in a reasonable amount of time. Still great research, but...
  • senttoschool - Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - link

    Does anyone know what sorts of COVID-19 research require a supercomputer?
  • webdoctors - Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - link

    Maybe checking to see if its man made? Lots of reports that it was made in a lab by the DEEP STATE.
  • SarahKerrigan - Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - link

    Is something fundamentally wrong with you?
  • nandnandnand - Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - link

    webdoctors caught the Wuhan Coronavirus.
  • sonny73n - Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - link

    “Wuhan Coronavirus”

    So you’re one of the sheeple who gobbles everything on CNN. Just don’t spit them out or you just help spreading misinformation.

    Here’s something I found:

    Given that some major U.S. media and politicians made groundless claims that the novel coronavirus originates in China, blamed and slandered China, even asked for an apology from China, then I have every reason to ask 10 questions for the United States about its origin too. Better still, unlike the U.S., I did a lot homework and will base my questions on international media coverage of COVID-19.
    emphasis added
    Question 1
    Since the director of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control, Robert Redfield admitted that some Americans seemingly dying from flu were tested positive for the novel coronavirus, can I conclude that those people actually died from the novel coronavirus? Among the 34 million influenza patients, with a death toll of 20,000, how many were misdiagnosed?
    When did the misdiagnoses start? And did it actually start from August 2019? These questions are so vital that the world is waiting for an explanation from the United States.
    Question 2
    When there were some misdiagnoses admitted by U.S. CDC, I’m scratching my head – isn’t the U.S. that owns the best medical technologies in the world? Why did that happen?
    As the ground glass opacity (white patches) can be easily seen in CT scans of the lungs of patients with the novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia, it should have been an easy thing to separate the cases of COVID-19 and H1N1 flu. But why were there so many misdiagnoses?
    Well, that reminds me of the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s request of controlling all messaging regard to the coronavirus. Why does the White House call for messaging control? Does the U.S. need to hide something? Are they plotting some conspiracy?

    Director of the U.S. CDC Robert Redfield (front) speaks during a press conference on the coronavirus at the White House in Washington D.C., U.S., March 4, 2020.

    Question 3
    Why did the U.S. withdraw from the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in 2001? Why did it try to prevent a monitoring mechanism for the execution of the Convention? Is it standing in the way of developing biological weapon for the U.S.?
    If not, why are there new biological laboratories in Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan? Are those labs for biochemical warfare? It’s impossible that they are keeping viruses as pets. If the U.S. is aiming at provoking a biochemical war, who would be the first target then?
    Also, how about the swine flu outbreak in China last year? The odd thing is that it broke out in different places simultaneously instead of breaking out separately. Why were drones used to poison the pigs? Was the U.S. behind all that? I heard that it was the pork speculators. But that theory makes no sense – since the swine flu killed millions of pigs in China during the same period of time, pork speculators would suffer great loss instead of profits.
    The best possible answer to that was foreign meddling. I was among those who wondered if the U.S. had anything to do with that and hoped for an explanation.
    Question 4
    The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, located on Fort Detrick, Maryland, was shut down in July 2019. Was it because there was a virus leakage incident?
    Just one month later, there was an influenza outbreak across the country. Were those two things related in any way?
    Were the misdiagnoses simply cooked up to cover up such secrets? Did that also become a motive for the U.S. to shift the blame to other countries by labeling them as the origin of the novel coronavirus?
    Was that an epic coincidence or a dirty secret in disguise? Why did the U.S. erase huge number of English news reports on the internet covering the shutdown in March 2020? Is there anything to hide, or is there anything to worry about?
    Question 5
    At the 7th Military World Games (October 18-27, 2019) held in Wuhan, why did the U.S. team (369 members) win ZERO gold medal? Did that even look like a reasonable record for the world’s leading military power? Did your government do it on purpose?
    Was anyone among the 369 participants ever (mis)diagnosed with influenza? Was it possible they were carriers of the novel coronavirus?
    The best thing for the U.S. now is to stop burying its head in the sand and give the 369 people PCT tests to see if they are infected.
    Question 6
    Why did the U.S. hold Event 201, a global pandemic exercise in October 2019? Why was the CIA deputy director participating it? Is it because the U.S. has foreseen a highly-infectious virus is about to cause a pandemic? One month later, cases of pneumonia of unknown cause were detected in China and there was a pandemic three months later. Probably, it’s not just a coincidence.
    Question 7
    Japan, South Korea, Italy and Iran all reported that many of their first COVID-19 confirmed cases had no exposure history with China but showed connection with the United States. How come?
    Genetic research shows that the type of novel coronavirus found in China belongs to Group C, but Group A and Group B viruses – Group C’s parental and grand parental viruses – are both found in the United States. Why? A Japanese patient was diagnosed with influenza in Hawaii but was tested positive for COVID-19 when he returned to Japan. How to explain that?
    Some COVID-19 cases in the U.S. had no connection with China whatsoever. So where does it come from?
    Question 8
    You’ve got no reason to deny that the 1918 Pandemic originated within your territory. But you let Spain bear the blame for as long as a century. Don’t you feel shame on that?
    History seems to repeat itself. So, is the U.S. playing the trick again and attempting to label the novel coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus”?
    Question 9
    The 1918 Pandemic, causing 1 billion infections, with a death toll “estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million… one of the deadliest epidemics in human history,” according to wikipedia, was proven originating in the U.S., but the U.S. has never apologized to the world.
    So far, the origin of the novel coronavirus is still unknown, but the United States is requiring China for an apology, how ridiculous is that! Just to remind the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic killing 300,000 people also originated in the U.S., and also the same for HIV AIDS. So why not confess to the world?
    Question 10
    In movies, the U.S. is fond of playing the role of the world savior. The image of Captain America is one of its most popular symbols. However, in reality, in the face of a disaster like COVID-19, where is Captain America?
    The U.S. is not doing enough to protect its citizens at home or on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. It even attempted to make Japan responsible for Americans on Diamond Princess. How does the U.S. have the brass to do all these and accuse China of being irresponsible?
    While China bought the world valuable time to battle COVID-19, the U.S. accused China of being passive and lacking transparency. Well, when the White House instructed the CDC to stop tallying the people tested for novel coronavirus, did that count as transparency?
    When the U.S. government advised its people not to wear masks, was it not being passive? Just too many questions call for the U.S.’s explanations
  • JKflipflop98 - Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - link

    You're wrong. It came from China.
  • Santoval - Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - link

    Did you know that baseless conspiracy theories are going to be included in the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association? "Lots of reports" say so. My therapist claimed that "everyone says that's the case", though he didn't clarify who these people are.

    I also heard that the APA is a powerful medical wing of the Deep State, and classifying unfounded conspiracy theories as a form of mental disorder is an act of revenge against the good honest people who support and vote the (self-declared) smartest US President of all time; that selfless, self-sacrificing patriot who puts every American above himself. Boycott the APA now!
  • SarahKerrigan - Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - link

    From the article:

    So far, IBM’s Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has enabled researchers from ORNL and the University of Tennessee to screen 8,000 compounds to discover those that are most likely to bind to the main “spike” protein of the coronavirus, and thus prevent it from infecting host cells. To date, scientists recommended 77 promising small-molecule mixtures that could now be evaluated experimentally.
  • brucethemoose - Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - link

    Modeling compounds and how they interact is harder than youd think. Modeling something as big as a protein is even harder.

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