Imagine putting more than a dozen computer, technology, lab, academic and scientific groups together to advance the research of the coronavirus using a supercomputer to move their research, theories and projects forward. That’s the whole idea behind IBM’s supercomputer, the Summit, and a consortium of groups such as NASA, MIT, the National Science Foundation and a number of labs.
Supercomputers are not just for weather anymore! They can run “billions of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling” offering extraordinary supercomputing power to scientists, medical researchers and government agencies hastening their response to this pandemic. Calculations that would take years by hand and months by standard computers could be effectively carried out in days!
And it’s already working. IBM, as I have mentioned before, owns the Weather Company which is our vendor for computer modeling and weather graphics. Their computer, the Summit, has allowed researchers “to screen 8,000 compounds to find those that are most likely to bind to the main ‘spike’ protein of the coronavirus, rendering it unable to infect host cells.” They sorted out more than seventy promising drug compounds to be tested. Such is the power of the supercomputer!
I encourage you to watch this one-minute video from the Department of Energy, a partner in this consortium.
And for an explanation of how this is working, along with the other labs and groups involved, I refer you to this quick read.
Knowledge is everything and it’s nice to know that we have supercomputers on our side, something we wouldn’t have had to this extent just a few years ago!
Stay safe and wash those hands!