The world’s fastest supercomputer Summit, was recently deployed as part of efforts to develop a treatment for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Numerous simulations were performed by researchers to identify drug compounds that could lead to a treatment to control or cure COVID-19. The use of traditional methods to perform this research would take years but Summit was able to identify and study 77 potentially useful drug compounds in just two days.
According to IBM, which developed the supercomputer, scientists are hoping that Summit’s findings will inform future studies and provide a focused framework for further investigation of the compounds that will reveal if any of them have the characteristics to attack and kill the virus.
Why has Summit proved useful for scientists in this particular research? As per IBM: “Computer simulations can examine how different variables react with different viruses. Each of these individual variables can comprise billions of unique data points. When these data points are compounded with multiple simulations, this can become a very time-intensive process if a conventional computing system is used.”
The Summit supercomputer is powered by 9,216 IBM Power9 CPUs and more than 27,000 NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs and is capable of processing 200 quadrillion calculations per second. That makes it more than a million times faster than that laptop you’re using. It was built to take on big global challenges across business, medicine, science and engineering. We do hope its latest efforts would be useful in finding a cure for the COVID-19 pandemic.