IBM -built Summit aims to use supercomputers and their high speeds to help find the cure for coronavirus by running fast simulations
The International Business Machines Corporation is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. It has been dedicated to to creating innovations that matter for the world and currently with the spread and outbreak of the coronavirus, they have looked towards finding a cure for the virus with the draft of the IBM-built Summit.
Scientists have drafted the IBM-built Summit which involves the use of large supercomputers. Large in size, akin to a tennis court, these supercomputers are present at the U.S Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. They are capable of performing 200 quadrillion calculations each second and is the world’s most powerful high-performance computing facility. These researchers are using Summit’s computing power to screen through libraries of drug compounds to narrow down a dataset containing drugs can possibly be a cure for the virus. The facility was used last month, as a library of 8000 known chemicals, herbal medicines, and natural products were screened. The Summit narrowed it down to 77 in two days time.
Jeremy Smith, Director of the University of Tennessee/ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics and principal researcher in the study, highlighted how the computer can be used as cure for the virus: “It took us a day or two, whereas it has traditionally taken months on a normal computer. The logic is if any of those compounds works, it should be much quicker than the typical drug development process to get approval and widespread use”.
According to reports, scientists present there have used the virus’ genome published by Chinese researchers to run simulations. One of the findings and research areas focus on how the virus has crownlike proteins on its surface that it uses to bind with and infect cells inside the human body, researchers are looking to bind the spikes in a way that their ability to get inside the body’s cells is prevented. However, simulations can not prove that the treatment will work. Yet, researchers can use it to test on animal, and later perform human trials.