July 16, 2020 — The Korea institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI) has joined the COVID-19 High Performance Consortium as the Consortium’s 42th member with the KISTI-5 supercomputer called Nurion, a 25.7 Petaflops supercomputer ranked 17th place in the latest Top 500 supercomputing list.
KISTI has been fighting against the coronavirus pandemic. Since last April, a fast track of call for proposal has been up and running with a fast-tracked resource allocation process for Korean researchers in an attempt to help out with the discovery of potential treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 by making the most of the KISTI-5.
There are already several successful results of COVID-19 research using Nurion. KISTI Researchers have identified 8 drug candidates using Nurion by performing molecular dockings against 19,168 drug molecules from SWEELEAD library and ChEMBL database, followed by performing molecular dynamic simulations against 43 selected candidates from the molecular dockings step. The preliminary results have been published on ChemRxiv. A biochemical research team in Seoul National University is now working on in-vitro testing at the enzymatic level to access the effectiveness of the 43 selected drug candidates. Subsequently, a further experiment will be scheduled to be done at the cell level by a research group in the Korea Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT)
Nurion was also used for developing the world’s first fully-glycosylated full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike protein model in a viral membrane conducted by an international research team formed from Seoul National University in Korea, Lehigh University in USA, and University of Cambridge in UK.
“We are very excited to be a member of the HPC consortium. Together, in the hope of helping accelerate the understanding of the new coronavirus and the development of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, KISTI is intended to contribute to the consortium by offering free access to the KISTI-5 supercomputing facility along with necessary user and technical support for COVID-19 researchers around the world as well as Korean researchers.” said Soonwook Hwang, director of KISTI national supercomputing center.
“KISTI’s Joining the consortium will not only give a good opportunity for KISTI to be part of global joint forces to fight together against this global challenge, but will also help promote and accelerate supercomputer-aided innovative COVID-19 research for Korean research communities by opening the door for them to tap into the world’s most powerful supercomputers including Fugaku and Summit.” added Hee-yoon Choi, president of KISTI.
“The COVID-19 HPC Consortium continues to build international momentum. Today, we are excited to welcome the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information as a member, adding KISTI’s supercomputing power to the global partnership.” said Michael Kratsios, U.S. Chief Technology Officer at The White House.
KISTI serves as a national supercomputing center of Korea, providing both supercomputing and high performance networking facilities to Korean researchers. Especially, in relevance with participating to the HPC Consortium of COVID-19, KISTI has had a great experience in participating to the European project called WISDOM, a grid-enabled drug discovery initiative against malaria, several years ago in the era of Grid computing, where two teams in Korea joined the WISDOM collaboration by (1) offering computing resources along with relevant technology and (2) in-vitro testing to the initiative, respectively. KISTI still maintains the technology (http://htcaas.kisti.re.kr/wiki) to facilitate the conducting of large-scale virtual screening experiments to easily identify small molecule drug candidates on top of multiple computing platforms.