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Volunteers Create World's Fastest Supercomputer To Combat Coronavirus - Programming - Nairaland

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Volunteers Create World's Fastest Supercomputer To Combat Coronavirus by nijabazaar: 1:16pm On Apr 15, 2020
I am part of this network, if you are a programmer, an epidemiologist plus a 3D Artist, you can join too.

The world’s fastest supercomputer has been created from volunteers loaning spare time on their home PCs to fold proteins, a scientific task that could prove instrumental in the fight against the coronavirus.

According to Folding@Home, the organisation that runs the distributed computing effort, the combined power of the network broke 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second – or one “exaflop” – on 25 March.

That made it six times more powerful than the current world’s fastest traditional supercomputer, the IBM Summit, which is used for scientific research at the US’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. By Monday, it had more than doubled that, hitting a new record of 2.4 exaflops, faster than the top 500 traditional supercomputers combined, thanks to almost 1 million new members of the network.

The breakthrough reflects a huge spike in support for the Folding@Home project. Backers run a simple piece of software on their home computer, which then downloads and performs small tasks to help determine the physical structure of proteins.

All complex proteins are made of one or more strings of amino acids, folded in on themselves in complex – but predictable – ways to make 3D shapes. By applying those predictable rules, even a home computer can carry out folding calculations, and when millions of home computers are running the software at the same time, the total network can far outpace traditional supercomputers.

In March, Folding@Home announced a new set of tasks related to Covid-19 that would put contributors to work simulating the dynamics of the proteins that make up Sars-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) to hunt for new prospects for drugs to tackle the disease.

It is already paying off. One effort has been focusing on the “spike” protein that Sars-CoV-2 uses to invade human cells, says Greg Bowman, one of the researchers coordinating the effort. “It is well established that the spike must undergo a dramatic opening motion to reveal the interface that ultimately binds a human cell. Understanding how the spike opens up … could be extremely useful. Every step along the way could potentially be targeted with therapeutics.

“Unfortunately, there is no way to watch a spike undergo this transition, at least with existing experimental techniques. Data on what the open state even looks like is also limited.” But after just a few weeks of project time, the team was able to create a simulation that showed the first stage of the “mouth” opening up.

Those successes have taken the project far beyond its previous peak in 2007, when Sony built support for Folding@Home into its PlayStation 3 consoles, increasing the amount of processing power available at a stroke.


Re: Volunteers Create World's Fastest Supercomputer To Combat Coronavirus by scoundrel(f): 11:12pm On Apr 15, 2020
I wish I could gift the OP a certain amount or buy him up to a crate of beer in real life. For the first time in fifteen years folding@home has finally made news in this dead forum. All the idiots who brag about PS3s here shut their minds off when it came to this project. I personally know somebody who downloaded and used this client on his PS3 at the time. The only problem he faced then was our country's national disgrace: NEPA.

With so much power I doubt the need to add my system to the project. Next thing we know the US military will loan the supercomputing power to test out weapons of warfare.

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