Tech

Corona crisis: SARS-CoV-2 research exceeds 1 exaflops

With almost 800 petaflops of distributed computing power Folding @ Home set a new record for the time being – just a few days ago, the capacity was below 500 teraflops. The distributed computing project from globally networked computers uses the increased speed to research the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In a first step, the interaction with the ACE2Enzyme examined.

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Folding @ Home is by no means a new project; for almost two decades now, private individuals have been able to provide the computing power of their computers or laptops for the simulation of protein folding, thus helping to advance medical research on diseases such as Alzheimer's or cancer. The non-profit project is based at Stanford University in California, the original idea came from Vijay Pande.

The current 768 double-precision petaflops (FP64) are far more than the world's fastest supercomputer. The Summit at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory uses IBM's Power9 and Tesla V100 from Nvidia, which theoretically creates 201 petaflops and in the Linpack benchmark the system has 149 petaflops. In fact, almost 800 petaflops of practical computing capacity are far more than the ten most powerful supercomputers in the top 500 list provide together; together they have 520 petaflops.

Folding @ Home is not the only one to dedicate its execution speed to researching SARS-CoV-2. Said supercomputers also help: soon 16 systems are used for this under the leadership of IBM and the United States Department of Energy (DoE). The total computing capacity is around 330 petaflops – which currently means that far more than one exaflops is available for researching the corona virus.

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