BP’s CHPC supercomputer mobilized to assist in coronavirus research
BP is joining forces with the US government, universities, and the world’s largest technology companies by providing access to its supercomputer to help researchers halt the spread of COVID-19.
The company will donate its supercomputing capability to the public-private consortium formed in March 2020 by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the US Department of Energy, and IBM.
The group, known as the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, will pool resources and expertise from Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, BP, and others. They aim to provide COVID-19 researchers worldwide with access to the most powerful high-performance computing resources that can advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus.
BP will provide access to its Center for High-Performance Computing (CHPC) in Houston. It houses what the company claims is one of the world’s largest supercomputers for commercial research and processes enormous amounts of data. It has 16.3 petaflops of computing capability, allowing it to process more than 16 million billion calculations per second and complete a problem in an hour that would take a laptop nine years. The Center’s staff includes experts in data science, applied mathematics, and systems architecture.
The company will also make available the expertise of its Biosciences Center in San Diego, California. The center consists of dozens of scientists who have capabilities in biological sciences, chemical engineering and chemistry.
The sophisticated computing systems available through this consortium can process massive numbers of calculations related to bioinformatics, epidemiology, and molecular modeling, BP said. This is expected to help scientists develop answers to complex scientific questions about COVID-19 in hours or days versus weeks or months.