What’s New in Computing vs. COVID-19: Cerebras, Nvidia, OpenMP & More

By Oliver Peckham

May 18, 2020

Supercomputing, big data and artificial intelligence are crucial tools in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Around the world, researchers, corporations and governments are urgently devoting their computing resources to this global crisis. This column collects the biggest news about how advanced technologies are helping us fight back against COVID-19.


Nvidia expands Clara healthcare platform to combat COVID-19

The U.S. National Institutes of Health and Nvidia have collaborated to release a set of AI models designed to help clinicians detect COVID-19 infections using CT scans under the umbrella of Nvidia’s Clara healthcare platform. The models, which were built in less than three weeks, use data from four countries and are available in the latest release of Clara imaging on Nvidia’s software hub. To read more, click here.

Argonne leverages new systems from Nvidia and Cerebras to study COVID-19

Argonne National Laboratory has received the first order of Nvidia’s new DGX A100 system, which is powered by eight of Nvidia’s new A100 GPUs, comprising 320GB of memory. Argonne is using the system to study COVID-19. To read more, click here.

Cerebras Systems also announced that its CS-1 AI supercomputer is helping to identify therapeutics for COVID-19 at Argonne National Laboratory. The CS-1, which was deployed at Argonne less than six months ago, is the first use of Cerebras’ Wafer Scale Engine, which is the largest chip ever built. The CS-1 is using AI to predict which drug molecules will have the best docking scores with COVID-19’s viral proteins. To read more, click here.

OpenMP API speeds up the search for COVID-19 drugs

The OpenMP API has been used to enhance a popular molecular docking application being applied for COVID-19 drug discovery. OpenMP’s API helped parallelize the Lamarckian Genetic Algorithm used in AutoDock 4.2 (a standard for molecular docking analysis), streamlining the tool’s use (and speeding up results) on supercomputing systems. To read more, click here.

ACM introduces new award recognizing HPC-powered COVID-19 research

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has announced the creation of the ACM Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research. The prize will be presented in 2020 and 2021 and recognize outstanding research achievements that use HPC to understand the nature, spread or treatment of the virus. It will be accompanied by a $10,000 cash prize. Nominations will be accepted through October 8, 2020. To read more, click here.

Exscalate4CoV coalition announces new partners and promising initial results

The Italian-based Exscalate4CoV consortium, comprising 33 pharmaceutical companies and research organizations, has announced a number of new partners and the identification of 93 promising antiviral molecules. Those molecules, identified using Exscalate4CoV’s network of supercomputing partners, are now undergoing biological screening at its partners with biological labs. To read more, click here.

PPI4HPC allocates resources for COVID-19 research

PPI4HPC is a group of European supercomputing centers collaboratively engaging in Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) for HPC using funding from the European Commission. The group has now announced that two of the resources procured through the collaboration (the Joliot-Curie AMD partition and Marconi 100 for CINECA) have been allocated through PRACE’s Flash Track Call for Proposals focusing on COVID-19 research. To read more, click here.

Shoolini University scientists win Microsoft grant for COVID-19 research

Researchers at Shoolini University in Himachal Pradesh, India, have won a grant through Microsoft’s AI for Health program to conduct COVID-19 drug discovery research. The project was funded through the COVID-19 HPC Consortium and provides the researchers with credits on Microsoft Azure for a six-month research period. The researchers will use the time to screen phytochemical constituents for antiviral activity. To read more, click here.


Do you know about COVID-19 research that should be featured on this list? If so, send us an email at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.

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