PC Gamers Join Coronavirus Cure Project Running Faster Than Seven Supercomputers Combined
PC gamers and tech enthusiasts around the world are joining the fight against the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. A distributed computing project known as [email protected] put out the call for folk to effectively "donate" their spare computing cycles in an effort to run high-powered simulations that could find a cure for the virus, and the response so far has been incredible.
As more and more people have gotten involved and shared their power, [email protected] is now effectively twice as fast as the world's top supercomputer (thanks, PC Gamer). As of March 20th, it was busting out an astounding 470 petaflops of number-crunching performance. Needless to say, project director Greg Bowman is over the moon about the whole thing.
In a tweet thanking those who had contributed so far, Bowman put the new numbers into perspective. 470 petaflops is more than twice the peak performance of ORNL's Summit, which is the world's fastest supercomputer. In terms of sustained performance, [email protected] is outpacing the seven fastest supercomputers around. Combined. Wow.
Amazing! @foldingathome now has over 470 petaFLOPS of compute power. To put that in perspective, that's more than 2x the peak performance of the Summit super computer!
- Greg Bowman (@drGregBowman) March 20, 2020
If you're not familiar, [email protected] basically draws power from individual PCs. The project has been aiming to carry out some incredibly advanced simulations in an effort to find a cure or vaccine, and that requires a monstrous amount of computing power. It's not the kind of thing your hardware would be able to do alone, even if it can run Crysis, but when it joins up with the power of hundreds of thousands of other PCs? Then you're really cooking with gas.
"Our specialty is in using computer simulations to understand proteins' moving parts," [email protected] explains. "Watching how the atoms in a protein move relative to one another is important because it captures valuable information that is inaccessible by any other means. Taking the experimental structures as starting points, we can simulate how all the atoms in the protein move."
In times like these, it really is incredible to see how people are coming together and contributing whatever they have to try and help. If you want to lend whatever you can to this effort, you can head on over to [email protected]'s website and download the official installer. The only way we're going to get through this is together, so whether you're donating tinned goods and loo roll, or good old-fashioned computing power... just know that you're brilliant, and you're helping.
Featured Image Credit: Stanford/Ubisoft