IBM’s ‘Summit’ Supercomputer Helps DOE Researchers Study COVID-19 Behavior

A research team for the Department of Energy’s COVID-19 disease analysis initiative has deployed IBM’s Summit high-performance computing platform to support virus behavior modeling and simulation activities.

Dave Turek, vice president of technical computing at IBM’s cognitive systems arm, wrote in a blog post that Summit enabled researchers to simulate the COVID-19 infection process and visualize the virus’s binding to compounds, medications and host cells.

According to Jeremy Smith, director of the University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Laboratory Center for Molecular Biophysics, said the team hopes that their computational findings will “inform future studies and provide a framework” for investigating compounds that may help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Launched in 2018 at ORNL, Summit has a 200-petaflop computing capacity and includes six NVIDIA-built Tensorcore graphics processing units.

According to Turek, Summit has previously supported other research efforts involving opioid addiction and potential human landing on Mars.

IBM has another supercomputer called Sierra housed at DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Labs in California.

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