The White House Coronavirus task force press conference happened today. In the conference, President Trump revealed that he had launched a new private/public consortium that will extensively use the power of US super computing resources. The Department of Energy and IBM, along with White House, are the major contributors to the association along with several other companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon serving a part in it. Numerous research institutions, as well as academics, have also joined the consortium.
According to President Trump, the members are expected to ‘contribute a lot of different things’ to the consortium, which will be used to research the COVID-19.
Donald Trump’s comment was not very clear and specific, so IBM cleared the air around the decision by providing more details on it. The company said that they are working closely with various laboratories and research institutions to come up with 330 petaflops of computed resources. These will be used by bioinformatics, epidemiology, and molecular modeling to come up with more information and solutions on the ongoing pandemic.
Although Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are also a part of the consortium, it will be led by IBM and the White House Office of Science and Technology, along with the Department of Energy. IBM will be closely monitoring the situation and will coordinate efforts with its partners to evaluate and provide proposals with access to their high-performing super computing resources, for which it is known for. Only those proposals will be considered that are the most likely to have an immediate impact on the rising pandemic of Coronavirus.
The Director of Research of IBM, Dario Gill, in his recent writing, said, “How can supercomputers help us fight this virus? 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”.Source
Every company has contributed to the research in some way or the other. AWS recently donated $20 million to support the research by IBM on COVID-19. Microsoft, on the other hand, is taking several initiatives that surround helping businesses to cope with the fallout due to the ongoing crisis. Google has also launched an independent site dedicated to the virus, that majorly focuses on spreading awareness about the Coronavirus. Verily by Alphabet is also helping residents of the Bay Area to find testing sites when needed.
In the announcement released today, White House provided statements that were given by Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and other partners. Mike Daniels, the Vice President of Global Public Sector of Google Cloud, said, ”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.”
He further added, “We look forward to participating in this initiative alongside leaders in technology, academia, and the public sector to make more resources available to COVID-19 researchers and to apply Google Cloud computing capabilities toward the development of potential treatments and vaccines”.
John Kahan, who is the Global Head of Microsoft’s AI for Health Program, said that Microsoft wants to provide access to their tools to every researcher working to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. They have expanded their access to Microsoft Azure. They have also created various new opportunities for upcoming researchers so that they can collaborate with Microsoft’s data scientist and come up with solutions.
Trump has continuously insisted on calling the COVID-19 outbreak as the ‘Chinese Virus’ and today on a press briefing said that, “Today I’m also announcing the launch of a new public/private consortium organized by the White House, the Department of Energy and IBM to unleash the power of American super computing resources to fight the Chinese virus.”
He further added that leaders from private industries, companies, institutions, and academia, the government will be contributing a lot of information and other things. The main primary goal will be to compute resources to aid the discovery of new vaccines and treatments for the patients affected by COVID-19.