HPC Technology Strategies for Fighting COVID

Life sciences and high performance computing

We’re amid unprecedented times — COVID-19 has forced government officials to shut down schools, businesses, and public areas across the world. Thousands upon thousands have fallen ill with hospital workers worrying about reaching maximum capacity and depleting supply inventory. The amount of infections are projected to rise substantially each day, marking no end in sight for this worldwide pandemic. 

Hospitals, health care organizations and research companies are working around the clock to find proper drug treatments and vaccines to combat the virus. With so much on the line, it’s imperative that our country’s leading care givers and researches have access to the best resources available to perform life saving research. The obvious resources are those needed at the front line including ventilators, N95 masks, masks, gloves, etc.  But the not so obvious resources are just as vitally important.  These including high performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence and big data platforms. Below are just a few of the many ways that advanced technology tools and HPC can be used in the fight against COVID-19.

3 Technologies Taking On COVID-19

  1. Modeling and Visualization.  The real fight against this killer virus will be won with data.  The need for real time analysis of extremely large data sets has never been greater.  Our ability to ingest, interpret and visualize data in order to see what is happening at both the microscopic and global levels can substantially flatten the curve which will ultimately lead to saving lives. Recently one of our clients presented a model of the infection and death rate in Hawaii.  His models were so accurate that he is predicting within 1% margin of error at this point.  Government agencies can use these extremely exact data models to prepare hospitals and care workers.  It can help ensue there are enough resources in place before things are out of control.  Better prediction models equals saved lives.
  2. Bioinformatics. In order to understand what we are fighting we must first be able to sequence the virus’ genome.  This is actually very simple to so since the field of genomics has been in place for nearly 15 years.  Using HPC platforms and bioinformatics tools, research organizations have begun extensive sequencing of COVID-19. Being able to accurately identify the viral genome enables researchers to understand how it has become so successful in attacking us and spreading across the globe. Understanding the virus itself is imperative to discovering how to defeat it. Scientist can see where the virus bonds to the host cells and replicates.  If we are able to disrupt the bonding and replication then we have a fighting chance to defeat COVID-19.
  3. Computational Chemistry.  Organizations working on drug treatment are likely utilizing computational chemistry — a branch of chemistry that uses computer simulations to solve chemical problems. With this type of work, organizations can test the effects of specific drug or drug combinations on the virus in an effort to identify which drugs render the virus useless or ineffective. If the virus is prevented from attaching to a host or from replicating, researchers would catapult closer to an effective vaccine. 

Our world is in the fight of a lifetime — something no one has seen or lived through before. It’s more important than ever that hospitals, health care agencies and life science organizations of all sizes are able to do the work they need to do to protect and save lives. PSSC Labs is proud to support many organizations working to defeat COVID-19.  For these researchers having immediate access to the on-premise platforms they need can not be overstated. While other companies wait for cloud resources to become available, organizations that made the right decision to invest in their own technology platforms will lead us to the cure.

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