Over the past eight months, the world has been focused on the singular goal of developing treatments, vaccines, and containment strategies but what no one expected was how the tech world would challenge Covid-19. While front line responders and essential workers put their lives on the line, researchers and scientists focused on artificial intelligence (AI) for answers.
In just past months, emerging technologies boosting computing power, dramatically increase access to high-performance computing (HPC) and accelerate research by orders of magnitude. AI and HPC grasp to assess and invent new treatments, create potential vaccines, manage shutdowns and reopenings, analyze and enable access to digital medical records, and even help build better face masks.
In the Samsung semi blog, They explained that Samsung Semiconductor technology had played a particularly essential role in the fight against Covid-19. Samsung technology powers many of the most innovative programs and AI platforms that help scientists conduct research and achieve breakthroughs at a speed that would have been impossible just a few years ago.
One prominent example of Samsung tech in action is the Covid-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium. This consortium is a public-private initiative of IBM, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the US Department of Energy that provides free access to HPC for groups researching and fighting the coronavirus.
The consortium harnesses supercomputing resources from private companies, national laboratories, universities, and others to create an ever-expanding HPC system that (as of this writing) boasts 4.2 million CPU cores, 43,000 GPUs, and 600TB of Samsung’s new HBM2 high-bandwidth memory, providing 430 petaflops of processing power. This massive computing power enables researchers to study COVID-19 to get the answers they need in hours or days instead of weeks or months.
One of many exciting projects utilizing the consortium’s HPC system is the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC) at Columbia University. ADARC is studying neutralizing antibodies from convalescent COVID-19 donors to develop SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies used in therapeutics such as monoclonal antibody treatments or “passive” immunization.
Ryan Wang leads another research team utilizing the HPC system at Northeastern University. Wang’s team studied how human contacts and voluntary contact tracing can impact the spread of COVID-19 using complex simulations. Their research might provide important insight into how to implement contact tracing to contain the virus’s spread most effectively.
While the list of Covid-19 research projects leveraging Samsung tech is seemingly endless, silicon chips’ impact in semiconductor technology is felt well beyond the laboratory.
For example, the pandemic is also creating demand for high-bandwidth video streaming for virtual interaction between patients and frontline healthcare personnel. Samsung meets those needs by providing server DRAM solutions with greater bandwidth and higher memory density per server.
The Covid-19 pandemic is an ongoing crisis presenting an extreme challenge to both our medical and research communities. The semiconductor industry as a whole has risen to the challenge of supporting caregivers and researchers by rapidly rolling out the next generation of advanced technologies. As a result, lives have been saved, and hopefully, blunt the pandemic’s impact.
For the time being, the pandemic is still raging, and being complacent is not an option. It’s also become clear that the risk of future such events is high—that this could happen all over again in 10, 20, 30 years or more. Silicon industry must continue to push boundaries and accelerate the rate of progress to be more prepared next time.
Imagine a future in which Semiconductor can help not only predict but also prevent pandemics. And for future pandemics emerge, envision being ahead of the game with broad-spectrum protease inhibitors and other small molecule drugs, or potentially having universal vaccines for coronaviruses, Ebola, and influenzas on the ready to deploy at the first hint of an outbreak.