New Public-Private Consortium Targets U.S. Supercomputing Resources at Fighting COVID-19

The White House has announced the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium to provide COVID-19 researchers worldwide with access to the world’s most powerful high performance computing resources that can significantly advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus. The public-private consortium, led by the White House, the U.S. Department of Energy, and IBM, includes government, industry, and academic leaders who have volunteered free compute time and resources on their machines.

“Accelerating the process of discovery to unlock treatments and a cure for COVID-19 is of vital importance to us all. By bringing together the world’s most advanced supercomputers and matching them with the best ideas and expertise, this consortium can drive real progress in this global fight. IBM is proud to have helped kick-start this important effort,” said Dario Gil, director of IBM Research.

In industry, besides IBM, the consortium includes Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, as well as academic institutions, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories participating in the consortium include Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory;,Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories, and federal agencies include the National Science Foundation and NASA.

Researchers are invited to submit COVID-19 related research proposals to the consortium via the online portal which will then be reviewed and matched with computing resources from one of the partner institutions. An expert panel of top scientists and computing researchers will work with proposers to quickly assess the public health benefit of the work and coordinate the allocation of the group’s powerful computing assets.

The sophisticated computing systems available through this Consortium can process massive numbers of calculations related to bioinformatics, epidemiology, and molecular modeling, helping scientists develop answers to complex scientific questions about COVID-19 in hours or days versus weeks or months.

 “We know that high performance computing can reduce the time it takes to process massive datasets and perform complex simulations from days to hours,” added Mike Daniels, vice president, global public sector at Google Cloud.  “Working together, government, business, and academic leaders can utilize the power of the cloud to advance the pace of scientific discovery and innovation, and help combat the COVID-19 virus, added Teresa Carlson, vice president, worldwide public sector at AWS.