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!

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale computer. Intel also provided a glimpse of Read more…

By John Russell

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutting for the Expo Hall opening is Monday at 6:45pm, with the Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19’s HPC Impact Showcase Chair: AI + HPC a ‘Speed Train’

November 16, 2019

This year’s chair of the HPC Impact Showcase at the SC19 conference in Denver is Lori Diachin, who has spent her career at the spearhead of HPC. Currently deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Read more…

By Doug Black

Microsoft Azure Adds Graphcore’s IPU

November 15, 2019

Graphcore, the U.K. AI chip developer, is expanding collaboration with Microsoft to offer its intelligent processing units on the Azure cloud, making Microsoft the first large public cloud vendor to offer the IPU designe Read more…

By George Leopold

At SC19: What Is UrgentHPC and Why Is It Needed?

November 14, 2019

The UrgentHPC workshop, taking place Sunday (Nov. 17) at SC19, is focused on using HPC and real-time data for urgent decision making in response to disasters such as wildfires, flooding, health emergencies, and accidents. We chat with organizer Nick Brown, research fellow at EPCC, University of Edinburgh, to learn more. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Data Management – The Key to a Successful AI Project

 

Five characteristics of an awesome AI data infrastructure

[Attend the IBM LSF & HPC User Group Meeting at SC19 in Denver on November 19!]

AI is powered by data

While neural networks seem to get all the glory, data is the unsung hero of AI projects – data lies at the heart of everything from model training to tuning to selection to validation. Read more…

China’s Tencent Server Design Will Use AMD Rome

November 13, 2019

Tencent, the Chinese cloud giant, said it would use AMD’s newest Epyc processor in its internally-designed server. The design win adds further momentum to AMD’s bid to erode rival Intel Corp.’s dominance of the glo Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first plann Read more…

By John Russell

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19’s HPC Impact Showcase Chair: AI + HPC a ‘Speed Train’

November 16, 2019

This year’s chair of the HPC Impact Showcase at the SC19 conference in Denver is Lori Diachin, who has spent her career at the spearhead of HPC. Currently Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel AI Summit: New ‘Keem Bay’ Edge VPU, AI Product Roadmap

November 12, 2019

At its AI Summit today in San Francisco, Intel touted a raft of AI training and inference hardware for deployments ranging from cloud to edge and designed to support organizations at various points of their AI journeys. The company revealed its Movidius Myriad Vision Processing Unit (VPU)... Read more…

By Doug Black

IBM Adds Support for Ion Trap Quantum Technology to Qiskit

November 11, 2019

After years of percolating in the shadow of quantum computing research based on superconducting semiconductors – think IBM, Rigetti, Google, and D-Wave (quant Read more…

By John Russell

Tackling HPC’s Memory and I/O Bottlenecks with On-Node, Non-Volatile RAM

November 8, 2019

On-node, non-volatile memory (NVRAM) is a game-changing technology that can remove many I/O and memory bottlenecks and provide a key enabler for exascale. That’s the conclusion drawn by the scientists and researchers of Europe’s NEXTGenIO project, an initiative funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program to explore this new... Read more…

By Jan Rowell

MLPerf Releases First Inference Benchmark Results; Nvidia Touts its Showing

November 6, 2019

MLPerf.org, the young AI-benchmarking consortium, today issued the first round of results for its inference test suite. Among organizations with submissions wer Read more…

By John Russell

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Intel Confirms Retreat on Omni-Path

August 1, 2019

Intel Corp.’s plans to make a big splash in the network fabric market for linking HPC and other workloads has apparently belly-flopped. The chipmaker confirmed to us the outlines of an earlier report by the website CRN that it has jettisoned plans for a second-generation version of its Omni-Path interconnect... Read more…

By Staff report

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

Rise of NIH’s Biowulf Mirrors the Rise of Computational Biology

July 29, 2019

The story of NIH’s supercomputer Biowulf is fascinating, important, and in many ways representative of the transformation of life sciences and biomedical res Read more…

By John Russell

Xilinx vs. Intel: FPGA Market Leaders Launch Server Accelerator Cards

August 6, 2019

The two FPGA market leaders, Intel and Xilinx, both announced new accelerator cards this week designed to handle specialized, compute-intensive workloads and un Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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