IBM and the United States government have come together with other technology companies and universities to give 16 supercomputers for research on drugs and vaccines to combat the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreaks.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy had announced on Sunday that it will be constructing a High-Performance Computing Consortium, which is made up of the US Energy Department’s national laboratories, IBM, Alphabet’s Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and many universities.
The consortium will assess proposals from researchers (government, private companies and academia) and will choose the most favourable and promising ones to have access to the supercomputers.
Along with the free 16 machines that the researchers will receive, they will also have access to the remote IBM Summit, which is located at Oak Ridge National Library and the IBM Lassen at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, government laboratories in the United States.
Director of IBM Research Dario Gil had been quoted saying, Supercomputers have thousands of processors that work together to conduct calculations, run experiments and examine data using artificial intelligence. It is also very good at managing research in areas like epidemiology and molecular modelling as the systems mirror the interconnectivity that exists in nature.
US government officials said last week researchers revealed over 29,000 articles relating to COVID-19 and other similar viruses from professionals in AI, in order to get a better understanding about it. Since then, the articles have been downloaded 18,000 times by researchers.
IBM’s Summit, as an early estimate in COVID-19 research, had screened 8,000 compounds and identified 77 of them which are very likely to hold together the main “spike” protein in the coronavirus SARS-CoV2 which is the cause of the COVID-19 infection. Spike proteins are what attach to the cells of a human body. Additional research can look at how to stop those 77 compounds from attaching to the host cells. Which could hopefully find cures and treatments to deadly infections.