Image by Carlos Jones/ORNL
The COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium is bringing together the pharmaceutical industry, academic institutions and federal laboratories to try to identify or create candidate compounds that might prevent or treat a coronavirus infection.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced that is has set up a High Performance Computing Consortium, which comprises the US Energy Department’s national laboratories, as well as IBM, Alphabet’s Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, several pharmaceutical companies, and universities.
Among the 16 machines that the researchers will have free, remote access to are the IBM Summit, located at Oak Ridge National Library and the IBM Lassen at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, government laboratories in the United States.
“Supercomputers have thousands of processors that work together to perform calculations, run experiments and analyse data using artificial intelligence. They are also especially good for conducting research in areas like epidemiology and molecular modeling because the systems mirror the interconnectivity that exists in nature,” Director of IBM Research Dario Gil was quoted as saying.
An early project in COVID-19 research on the IBM’s Summit screened 8,000 compounds and identified 77 of them that were most likely to bind to the main “spike” protein in the coronavirus SARS-CoV2 which causes the COVID-19 infection. Spike proteins (the pointy structures seen on images of the coronavirus) are the ones that attach to cells in the human body. Now, further research can focus on how to prevent those 77 compounds from attaching to host cells.
Use the following links to know more about how to be part of the research.