Sixteen supercomputers tackle coronavirus cures in US


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.