RPI supercomputer to aid development of coronavirus vaccine


TROY, N.Y. (NEWS 10) — In President Trump’s coronavirus press briefing today, he mentioned that Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will join a new public-private consortium to help fight the pandemic by providing computing resources.

RPI is offering the research community access to AiMOS, which stands for Artificial Intelligence Multiprocessing Optimized System. It is one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers and is able to take data of the virus and combine it with artificial intelligence.

“In order to combat something having to do with the coronavirus, COVID-19 disease, one really has to understand the complexity of biological systems of what receptors in the cells, particularly the lungs the virus tends to bind to,” explained Shirley Ann Jackson, President of RPI.

Jackson said to model those dynamics takes a lot of computational power. Supercomputer AiMOS is able to perform eight quadrillion calculations per second.

“Because this is a global pandemic, there is a huge amount of epidemiological data that has to be folded in to understand the disease globally, to be able to understand populations and how it can effect populations differently.”

Jackson said this research could help in the development of vaccines, which is critical for herd immunity. She added that the university is happy to help fight this pandemic.

“Higher education is about educating the next generation. We want those generations to have a future, but we want to educate them in a way that they know they can make a difference.”


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