HPC Supports Pandemic Research Efforts
Monitoring the Situation
As the impact of COVID-19 and the worldwide response to the virus grows, I want to express the SC20 team’s heartfelt concern for our friends, colleagues, and families around the world. So, you may be wondering: is SC20 still on? The short answer is, yes.
Because there is extreme fluidity with this situation, we are continuing to plan to hold SC20 as scheduled in November while monitoring the situation. We encourage you to continue to submit to our various Technical Program, Students@SC Program, and SCinet Program events.
Out of concern for the health and well-being of stakeholders, many employers have implemented travel restrictions; NVIDIA transformed GTC into an online-only format; and the American Physical Society and SXSW have canceled their March events. As of this writing, other conferences and large gatherings, like ISC in Frankfurt and the 2020 Olympics, are in wait-and-see mode.
Coronavirus & SC Guidelines & Policy
HPC & Coronavirus
HPC has been a tremendous enabler of advances in healthcare and medical research for many years. And as you’d expect, HPC is helping scientists get a lead on the coronavirus and its impacts on human health.
- Epidemiologists have been using the Wrangler supercomputer at UT Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center to model the spread of the coronavirus. The team used historical travel data for the busy Spring Festival season to chart movements between 371 Chinese cities, yielding a more accurate model than could be created on a desktop computer. Learn more
- Supercomputing power applied to records of historical pandemics, such as the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic which killed more than 200,000 people, can help us fight new diseases. A team from the University of California at San Diego built an all-atom, solvated, and experimentally based integrative model of pH1N1 (the H1N1 flu virus) on the Blue Waters supercomputer hosted by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Using this model of the entire viral envelope, which consisted of more than 160 million atoms, they examined two binding sites on the flu’s viral proteins. For the first time they were able to understand how flu proteins on the surface of the virus interact with each other. From this research, new anti-influenza therapeutics may be developed. Learn more
- Simulations of more than 8000 small-molecule drug compounds to screen for those that could bind to a protein in coronaviruses and disable it from infecting host cells have been performed on the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The S-protein spike is present in both the virus responsible for the SARS epidemic of 2003 and the COVID-19 disease. The systematic screening of compounds reduced the original set of 8000 down to a more reasonable 77 small-molecule drug compounds that can potentially undergo experimental testing. Thanks to Summit, the simulations took only a day or two, saving valuable time that can be used by experimental researchers to focus on a manageable number of options for stopping the coronavirus. Learn more
Share Your Research News
If you or your organization is involved in virus- or pandemic-related research, please share your news with the SC20 Communications Team so we can highlight how HPC is making a positive impact in the world.
We hope to see all of you in Atlanta in November, and wish you all the best in these trying times.
Christine E. Cuicchi, SC20 General Chair