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World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer Fights Coronavirus

Just a few days ago we asked you to contribute your PC’s leftover horsepower to help fight the Coronavirus, and while every bit matters, it looks like the Arnold Schwarzenegger of supercomputers is joining the fight: The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) just announced that it’s bringing in the big guns, tasking Summit with accelerating the process of finding a protein that can bind to the spikes found on the Coronavirus, as reported by HPC Wire. Blocking these spikes would stop the virus from being able to infect lung cells.

Summit employs 220,800 CPU cores, 188,416,000 CUDA cores, 9.2PB of memory, and 250PB of mixed NVRAM/storage for the task. 

“Summit was needed to rapidly get the simulation results we needed. It took us a day or two whereas it would have taken months on a normal computer,” said Jeremy Smith, director of UT/ORNL CMB. “Our results don’t mean that we have found a cure or treatment for the Wuhan coronavirus. We are very hopeful, though, that our computational findings will both inform future studies and provide a framework that experimentalists will use to further investigate these compounds. Only then will we know whether any of them exhibit the characteristics needed to mitigate this virus.” 

(Image credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

The Summit supercomputer is built by IBM, and currently holds the number one place as the most powerful (publicly ranked) supercomputer in the world. It packs a total of 4,608 nodes, each containing two IBM Power9 CPUs and Six Nvidia Volta GV100 GPUs. For a full technical overview of Summit, you can check out our cheat sheet here.

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