IBM is assembling supercomputers in the global fight against COVID-19.


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, IBM has been working closely with governments around the worldwide to find all available options to put technology and expertise to work to help organizations be resilient and adapt to the consequences of the pandemic and to accelerate the process of discovery and enable the scientific and medical community to develop treatments and ultimately a cure.

IBM is launching the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, which will bring forth an unprecedented amount of computing power—16 systems with more than 330 petaflops, 775,000 CPU cores, 34,000 GPUs, and counting — to help researchers everywhere better understand COVID-19, its treatments, and potential cures.

These high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling. These experiments would take years to complete if worked by hand, or months if handled on slower, traditional computing platforms. The supercomputer can offer extraordinary supercomputing power to scientists, medical researchers and government agencies as they respond to and mitigate this global emergency.

As a powerful example of the potential, IBM’s Summit, the most powerful supercomputer on the planet, has already enabled researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee 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 were able to recommend the 77 promising small-molecule drug compounds that could now be experimentally tested. This is the power of accelerating discovery through computation.

IBM wants to continue to explore everything within its capacity to use its technology and expertise to drive meaningful progress in this global fight.

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