Volunteers fight COVID-19 by creating the world's fastest supercomputer.
Before developing new ways to fight the coronavirus, scientists must first discover the complex dynamics of the proteins that make up Sars-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). To do this, computers must perform folding calculations, a process that simulates the way proteins fold and move.
The challenge with folding calculations is that they require a lot of computing power, which is why an organization called Folding @ Home asked citizen scientists to give free time on their PCs to fold proteins, a call to which masses responded.
According to Folding @ Home, the combined power of the network broke 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second, or "exaflop" on March 25. This made it six times more powerful than the world's fastest traditional supercomputer, the IBM Summit, which is used for scientific research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States. USA On Monday, there were more than doubled, reaching a new record of 2.4 exaflops, faster than the 500 traditional supercomputers combined, thanks to nearly a million new members of the network.
The progress reflects a strong increase in support for the Folding @ Home project. Sponsors run simple software on your personal computer, which downloads and then performs small tasks to help determine the physical structure of proteins.
So far, the combined effort has paid off. According to researcher Greg Bowman, folding allowed scientists to visualize the "spike" protein that CoV-2 uses to invade human cells, which would not be possible with current observation techniques.