NASA has made available to researchers the SGI Altix supercomputer “Kalpana”: it will be used to study, analyze and process the data collected on the Coronavirus.
The fight against the coronavirus has no boundaries. Researchers around the world are working to develop effective solutions against Covid-19. The strategies implemented so far are different. In Italy, researchers are mainly focusing on the design of health protocols and drug therapies to face off the symptoms of Coronavirus. In the rest of the world, however, biotech companies and universities are working on the development of a vaccine. To facilitate and speed up the work of researchers, leading computer service providers have upgraded Internet connections and made access to many resources and services free of charge. NASA, the world-famous American Space Agency, has also decided to take the field to support research. The Agency’s top management has announced that they will make the SGI Altix supercomputer “Kalpana” from the Ames research centre available to researchers. The device is equipped with 512 processors and has a computing power exponentially higher than a “normal” pc. The nickname “Kalpana” is a tribute to NASA astronaut Kalpana Chawla, victim of the 2003 Shuttle Columbia accident.
NASA’s supercomputer against the Coronavirus
The supercomputer is usually used by NASA to develop weather models and conduct atmospheric studies. Starting in the next few hours, however, it can be used by researchers to analyze and study the COVID-19. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the initiative on Twitter. “I am proud that NASA is lending our supercomputing expertise to contribute to the global fight against Covid 19 disease. For over six decades, the agency has used its experience to address challenges that have benefited people around the world in unexpected ways. Michael Kratsios, Chief Technology Officer of the United States, also expressed great satisfaction with NASA’s decision: America “is coming together to fight Covid 19 and this means using the ability of our supercomputers to advance scientific research quickly in order to find treatments and a vaccine”.