White House receives computing resources from tech giants Google, IBM and Microsoft

These resources can run high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations

Several tech giants such as Google, IBM and Microsoft are aiding the White House by providing extensive computing services. These resources can carry out a large and complex number of calculations in bioinformatics, epidemiology and molecular modelling to battle COVID-19.

Trump announces the launch of the consortium

US President Donald Trump has announced the launch of a new public/private consortium led by IBM, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Energy to "unleash the power of American supercomputing resources."

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During the White House briefing on the coronavirus task force on Sunday, Trump said other companies, including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft as well as a number of academic institutions, are also "contributing lots of different things," TechCrunch reported late Sunday.

"IBM is helping launch the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, which will bring forth an unprecedented amount of computing power systems with more than 330 petaflops, 775,000 CPU cores, 34,000 GPUs, and counting to help researchers everywhere better understand COVID-19, its treatments, and potential cures," Dario Gil, IBM's Director of Research, said in a statement.

Enable massive calculations

These high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling. "These experiments would take years to complete if worked by hand, or months if handled on slower, traditional computing platforms," Gil added.

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Retail giant Amazon's Cloud arm AWS has dedicated $20 million to support COVID-19 research while Microsoft has already announced a number of different initiatives. Microsoft wants to "make sure researchers working to combat COVID-19 have access to the tools they need" by expanding access to its Azure Cloud, according to John Kahan, Microsoft's global head for AI for Health Programme.

"We know that high-performance computing can reduce the time it takes to process massive data sets and perform complex simulations from days to hours," added Mike Daniels, Vice President, Global Public Sector at Google Cloud.

IBM said it will work with consortium partners to evaluate proposals from researchers around the world and provide access to this supercomputing capacity for the projects that can have the most immediate impact.

(With inputs from agencies)