TACC Partners with World Community Grid

By By Aaron Dubrow, Texas Advanced Computing Center

November 12, 2007

Between keystrokes and without blinking an eye, you can help solve the world’s most important problems.

This is the message behind the World Community Grid, the distributed computing network created by IBM, which, since 2004, has been harnessing the power of volunteer computers to find cures for global health problems, understand climate change and discover the basic mechanisms of human health.

“The idea is to tap into this vast computing power and put it together with scientists’ big research ideas to help society and the world by dramatically speeding up their research,” said IBM master inventor and chief scientist for the World Community Grid Viktors Berstis.

Thanks to the World Community Grid’s 330,000 users, more than 120,000 years of computing time has been dedicated to solving grand challenge problems. The World Community Grid — a massive virtual computer composed of 780,000 PCs and counting — represents one of the largest philanthropic research projects ever attempted. The IBM Corp. is funding the project as a charitable program and has donated the hardware, software, technical services and expertise to build and maintain the infrastructure for the World Community Grid.

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) recently announced its partnership with the World Community Grid and will assist the project by running World Community Grid software on its employee PCs, installing the client on the new Stampede cluster — helping scientists scale their research for the World Community Grid — and allowing other large TACC clusters to run grid computations when there are idle processors.

“TACC deploys world-class high performance computing systems and other advanced computing resources, but does not provide a massive distributed serial computing grid. Therefore, we are pleased to partner with the World Community Grid, one of the leading such projects in the world,” Jay Boisseau, director of TACC, said. “We look forward to working with IBM to explore how researchers can most effectively utilize both TACC advanced systems and the World Community Grid to address problems with deep impact to society as well as science.”

Volunteer computing (a type of “distributed” or “grid” computing) emerged in the 1990s as a way to solve complex problems computationally by connecting large numbers of volunteer PCs over the Internet. Drawing on the successes of [email protected] — a popular grid computing project begun in 1999 to help search the skies for signs of extraterrestrial life — IBM’s World Community Grid focuses on more terrestrial aims, like drug discovery, climate predictions and bio-engineering.

With volunteer computing, large-scale computational problems are broken up into millions of small data packets and sent to individual participating computers. Home and business PCs, working while they sit idle, process and calculate these data packets and send the results back to a central system. There, the information is double-checked for accuracy and recombined to form a complex solution. This process differs from high performance computing, which processes data using a unified, massively parallel system.

One of the World Community Grid’s most recent projects, “Developing Dengue Drugs — Together,” illustrates the potential of combining grid computing with high performance computing systems, or “supercomputing,” to speed the discovery of small molecules for drug development. This method, called structure-based drug discovery, uses the power of supercomputers to determine which chemical compounds are the most likely to lead to drug discoveries, then uses grid computing to check the results.

Led by Dr. Stan Watowich and his research team at The University of Texas Medical Branch, “Developing Dengue Drugs – Together” aims to find compounds to combat the family of viral diseases called flaviviruses, which include Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus, Hepatitis C, and Yellow Fever. These diseases cause massive loss of life and resources throughout the world, with Dengue Fever infecting 50 to 100 million people each year and West Nile Virus spreading rapidly throughout the United States and Europe. Currently, there are no effective drugs to treat any of these diseases.

Flaviviruses are structurally and functionally similar and depend on a common enzyme, the NS3 protease, for viral replication. Knowing the shape and mechanism of this protease allowed Watowich’s research team to predict a method of disease disruption. But to test the three million potential drug molecules that could act as protease inhibitors was impossible given their on-site capacity.

“To do the drug discovery project in an accurate way would have required tens of thousands of years of computing time. So we talked with TACC and it became clear that a distributed computing approach would be very valuable,” Watowich said. “We decided to take advantage of what IBM had established and approached them about running our project on the World Community Grid.” Using the free resources of the World Community Grid, over 60,000 years worth of computing can be completed each year.

Watowich’s team used the Grid to do most of the computational heavy lifting, but performed pre- and post-processing, as well as algorithm and database testing, at TACC. “We’ve used TACC [systems] extensively for the initial development work, testing the programs on Lonestar and doing a lot of pre-processing to get the databases in the right format,” Watowich said.

In Phase 2 of the Dengue discovery program, TACC will serve as the “mothership” for preparing, storing and processing all World Community Grid calculations. With the combined resources of TACC and the World Community Grid, the future of this type of approach is essentially limitless, Watowich said. “Any disease, such as Alzheimer’s, influenza, or asthma, that has a protein target for the manifestation of the disease can be targeted with this approach.”

The World Community Grid has already helped researchers complete several studies, including a comparison of genomes and the development of tools for early cancer diagnostics. Presently, the Grid has four active projects through partnerships with non-profit, governmental, and academic institutions, searching for AIDS and Dengue drugs, and studying African climate change and human protein folding. The discoveries facilitated by the Grid are made available to the public to help the global research community.

Despite the World Community Grid’s achievements, there is still tremendous room for growth, according to Berstis. “One challenge is getting scientists to come up with really big projects to help the world and humanity,” Berstis said. “The other part of the challenge is getting the information out to all your friends and relatives and getting them to sign up.”

With the number of PCs in the world approaching one billion, the World Community Grid has untold potential, leading many researchers to believe the next big breakthrough might be achieved with the help of your home or work computer. “It’s doing something philanthropic without paying any money. How often can you do that?” Berstis said. “Everybody else asks for money, or time. Here’s something you can do to contribute to humanity and it’s effortless.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

ABB Upgrades Produce Up to 30 Percent Energy Reduction for HPE Supercomputers

June 6, 2020

The world’s supercomputers are currently allied in a common goal: defeating COVID-19. To analyze the billions upon billions of molecules that might produce helpful therapeutics (or even a vaccine), an unimaginable amou Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputers Take to the Solar Winds

June 5, 2020

The whims of the solar winds – charged particles flowing from the Sun’s atmosphere – can interfere with systems that are now crucial for modern life, such as satellites and GPS services – but these winds can be d Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPC in O&G: Deep Sea Drilling – What Happens Now   

June 4, 2020

At the beginning of March I attended the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. That seems a long time ago now. It’s a great event where oil and gas specialists join with compute veterans and the discussion tell Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

NCSA Wades into Post-Blue Waters Era with Delta Supercomputer

June 3, 2020

NSF has awarded the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) $10 million for its next supercomputer - named Delta – “which will kick-start NCSA’s next generation of supercomputers post-Blue Waters,” Read more…

By John Russell

Dell Integrates Bitfusion for vHPC, GPU ‘Pools’

June 3, 2020

Dell Technologies advanced its hardware virtualization strategy to AI workloads this week with the introduction of capabilities aimed at expanding access to GPU and HPC services via its EMC, VMware and recently acquired Read more…

By George Leopold

AWS Solution Channel

Join AWS, Univa and Intel for This Informative Session!

Event Date: June 18, 2020

More enterprises than ever are turning to HPC cloud computing. Whether you’re just getting started, or more mature in your use of cloud, this HPC Cloud webinar is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insights and knowledge to help accelerate your HPC cloud projects. Read more…

Supercomputers Streamline Prediction of Dangerous Arrhythmia

June 2, 2020

Heart arrhythmia can prove deadly, contributing to the hundreds of thousands of deaths from cardiac arrest in the U.S. every year. Unfortunately, many of those arrhythmia are induced as side effects from various medicati Read more…

By Staff report

NCSA Wades into Post-Blue Waters Era with Delta Supercomputer

June 3, 2020

NSF has awarded the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) $10 million for its next supercomputer - named Delta – “which will kick-start NCS Read more…

By John Russell

Indiana University to Deploy Jetstream 2 Cloud with AMD, Nvidia Technology

June 2, 2020

Indiana University has been awarded a $10 million NSF grant to build ‘Jetstream 2,’ a cloud computing system that will provide 8 aggregate petaflops of comp Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

COVID-19 HPC Consortium Expands to Europe, Reports on Research Projects

May 28, 2020

The COVID-19 HPC Consortium, a public-private effort delivering free access to HPC processing for scientists pursuing coronavirus research – some utilizing AI Read more…

By Doug Black

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Boosts Deep Learning Accuracy on Memristive Chips

May 27, 2020

IBM researchers have taken another step towards making in-memory computing based on phase change (PCM) memory devices a reality. Papers in Nature and Frontiers Read more…

By John Russell

Hats Over Hearts: Remembering Rich Brueckner

May 26, 2020

HPCwire and all of the Tabor Communications family are saddened by last week’s passing of Rich Brueckner. He was the ever-optimistic man in the Red Hat presiding over the InsideHPC media portfolio for the past decade and a constant presence at HPC’s most important events. Read more…

Nvidia Q1 Earnings Top Expectations, Datacenter Revenue Breaks $1B

May 22, 2020

Nvidia’s seemingly endless roll continued in the first quarter with the company announcing blockbuster earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations. Nvidia Read more…

By Doug Black

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Steve Scott Lays Out HPE-Cray Blended Product Roadmap

March 11, 2020

Last week, the day before the El Capitan processor disclosures were made at HPE's new headquarters in San Jose, Steve Scott (CTO for HPC & AI at HPE, and former Cray CTO) was on-hand at the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. He was there to discuss the HPE-Cray transition and blended roadmap, as well as his favorite topic, Cray's eighth-gen networking technology, Slingshot. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
ASROCK RACK
ASROCK RACK
AWS
AWS
CEJN
CJEN
CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
IBM
IBM
MELLANOX
MELLANOX
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Contributors

Tech Conferences Are Being Canceled Due to Coronavirus

March 3, 2020

Several conferences scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, including Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) and the Strata Data + AI conference, have Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Exascale Watch: El Capitan Will Use AMD CPUs & GPUs to Reach 2 Exaflops

March 4, 2020

HPE and its collaborators reported today that El Capitan, the forthcoming exascale supercomputer to be sited at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and serve Read more…

By John Russell

Cray to Provide NOAA with Two AMD-Powered Supercomputers

February 24, 2020

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week announced plans for a major refresh of its operational weather forecasting supercomputers, part of a 10-year, $505.2 million program, which will secure two HPE-Cray systems for NOAA’s National Weather Service to be fielded later this year and put into production in early 2022. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This