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IBM and White House to deploy supercomputer power to fight coronavirus outbreak

President Donald Trump speaks, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (L) and IBM CEO Virginia Marie ‘Ginni’ Rometty (R) during a roundtable discussion on vocational training with United States and German business leaders lead in the Cabinet Room of the White House on March 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.

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IBM is partnering with the White House to make a vast amount of supercomputing power available to help researchers stop the spreading coronavirus pandemic, according to the Trump administration.

The tech company has teamed up with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy to launch the the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, according to a statement from Dario Gil, director of IBM Research. 

The supercomputing power will be available to help researchers develop predictive models to analyze how the disease is progressing as well as model new potential therapies or a possible vaccine.

“These high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling,” Gil said. “These experiments would take years to complete if worked by hand, or months if handled on slower, traditional computing platforms.”

The consortium will review research proposals from around the world and make the supercomputing power available to projects that can have the most immediate impact. Technical assistance will be offered to researchers using it.

IBM’s Summit supercomputer system is already helping the U.S. Department of Energy identify drug compounds that could potentially disable the coronavirus. 

Other partners in the new consortium include NASA, MIT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, and the National Science Foundation.

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