The biggest names in technology have joined forces with academics and US government departments to provide unprecedented computing power for coronavirus research.

It’s called the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium and it sees the likes of IBM, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and NASA sharing their computational resources with academics looking for new ways to beat the virus.

Summit, the world's most powerful supercomputer, along with NASA's supercomputing systems, and high performance cloud networks from AWS, Azure, and Google will all be available for researchers.

All told, the partnership makes freely available 30 supercomputing systems with a combined 3.5 million CPU cores and 41,000 GPUs working to deliver 400 petaflops, or 400 quadrillion operations every second.

“The partners are eager to offer these resources to researchers globally, free of charge, to boost their chances of finding approaches to develop drugs and vaccines to confront the new disease that has brought havoc to the world,” said co-chairs of the consortium, Dario Gil and Paul Dabbar.

“It’s a race against time in our aim to defeat the deadly coronavirus that has so far infected over a million people and killed tens of thousands.”

So far, the consortium has given computer time to 14 projects with fields of study looking to find weaknesses in fully simulated COVID-19 proteins and the use of AI for designing optimal drugs or vaccines.

Gil and Dabbar said they look forward to a new breed of cross-institutional co-operation in the future.

“Hopefully, not only will this partnership culminate in a drug or a vaccine against the deadly virus, but also pave the way for future partnerships between industry, government and academia,” the pair said.

“Because time and time again, history has shown that success is easier to achieve – together.”


The High Performance Computing Consortium isn’t the only partnership looking to deliver massive amounts of computational effort to the fight against coronavirus.

Folding@Home, a child of recently suspended distributed computing project SETI@Home, lets your computer’s idle time become a much-needed soldier on the front-lines of medical research.

This distributed computing project sends work out to its network of PCs that run simulations of protein structures that make up the coronavirus.

The Folding@Home team hopes its simulations will help discover new methods of treating the virus.

Already the project has produced hundreds of scientific papers from their papers, including the discovery of new sites for drugs to bind with Ebola virus proteins.

Newfound interest in Folding@Home, sparked by its involvement in finding coronavirus treatments, has led to remarkable new heights for computing power.

The network became the first exascale computing system when it clocked outputs beyond an exaflop, or one billion, billion operations per second.

As of writing, Folding@Home reports an estimated 2.3 exaflops being produced by its distributed workforce.