The US government, industry and academia have pooled efforts to fight the coronavirus by offering researchers access to some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers from IBM, along with cloud-computing resources from Amazon, Microsoft and Google. The COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium can be used for work like projecting the disease’s spread and modeling possible medicines.
“By pooling the supercomputing capacity under a consortium of partners … we can offer extraordinary supercomputing power to scientists, medical researchers and government agencies as they respond to and mitigate this global emergency,” said Dario Gil, director of IBM Research, in a statement. IBM is coordinating the effort.
Supercomputers, mammoth machines that can take up entire floors of buildings and consume as much power as a town, are used for tasks like simulating nuclear weapons explosions, global climate change effects and the physics of the cosmos. They also can be good at medical research like drug discovery — a key ability given the fast spread of the new coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic it’s caused.