Global supercomputing power for coronavirus (COVID-19) research May 2020

As per data from sources in May 2020, the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium boasts as having 437 petaFLOPS of supercomputing power available to support coronavirus-related research, whilst the lead for the Folding@home project initially stated that they're able to call upon 470 petaFLOPS of raw compute power. To put this into perspective, this is nearly 500,000 times faster than today's high-end desktop PCs. As of April 16, 2020 the cumulative capacity of Folding@home projects exceeds 2.4 ExaFLOPS.

COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium

The COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium is a unique private-public effort spearheaded by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Energy and IBM. Consortium partners include Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, home to Summit, the world's most powerful supercomputer.

Fighting COVID-19 will require extensive research in areas like bioinformatics, epidemiology, and molecular modeling to understand the threat, work that demands a massive amount of computational capacity. The consortium will aggregate computing capabilities from the world's most powerful and advanced computers to help COVID-19 researchers fight the virus.

Folding@home

Folding@home is a distributed computing project for simulating protein dynamics, notably the movements of proteins implicated in a variety of diseases. It brings together scientists who volunteer to run simulations of protein dynamics on their personal computers. Insights from this data is helping scientists to better understand biology, and providing new opportunities for developing therapeutics.

Folding@home is simulating the dynamics of COVID-19 proteins to hunt for new therapeutic opportunities. The project utilizes the spare CPU and GPU cycles of ordinary PC users around the world to collectively run computer simulations. As of 24th March, it was announced that Summit is now lending its power to the Folding@home COVID-19 project, making it the world’s fastest crowdsourced supercomputer and more powerful than the top seven supercomputers combined.

For further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit our dedicated Fact and Figures page.

Global supercomputing power for coronavirus (COVID-19) research as of May 2020

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Sources

Release date

May 2020

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

March 2020

Supplementary notes

*Summit: The world's most powerful supercomputer built by IBM for the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
**As of April 16, 2020. In March Folding@Home employed 4.63 million CPU cores and almost 430 thousand GPUs, which are not available and online at all times due to the nature of distributed computing. Therefore the perfomance available to Folding@home depends on the availability of hardware capacities. New data on the number of CPUs and GPUs was not available in the most recent release.
***As of May 2020. The consortiums pools the supercomputing capacity of IBM, Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), Argonne National Lab (ANL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Swiss National Supercomputer Center (CSCS), and multiple leading technology companies.

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