Petrobras announced that it will help fight the new coronavirus pandemic through its Santos Dummont and OGBON supercomputers. The machines will collaborate with the Folding @ Home project, donating part of the processing for research related to the subject. It is worth mentioning that anyone with a computer at home can help the initiative, which was recently supported by Nvidia. In addition, the state company will also allow its high-performance computers to access Brazilian universities that study the virus and Covid-19.
At first, Petrobras should cede 60% of the capacity of Santos Dummont, the largest supercomputer in Latin America, to the project. This share would be equivalent to a gross computational capacity of 2 petaflops, equivalent to 2 million laptops. OGBON, on the other hand, would dedicate 50% of its power, with about 1 million petaflops.
In this way, Petrobras computers would start to perform calculations referring to complex simulations that allow to understand how the virus behaves in the organism. Understanding the ways in which the coronavirus interacts with cells allows scientists to create combat strategies, formulating drugs and vaccines against Covid-19, a disease caused by the infection.
Folding @ Home, in turn, has already shown results. Thanks to the initiative, it was possible to identify the protein responsible for binding the virus to the cells of the human body. Ordinary users interested in helping can also give up part of the processing of their computers. To do so, just download the official project application and follow the steps indicated.
Petrobras also announced that it is supporting an initiative that seeks to apply artificial intelligence techniques to identify infected people through X-rays. That way, it would be possible to perform faster tests in relation to blood tests or tomography. The project in question is coordinated by PUC-RJ and Senai-Cimatec.