In a sign that public cloud has arrived as a player in high-performance computing (HPC), Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM have joined a public-private partnership with academic, industry and public-sector powerhouses to pledge free compute resources to COVID-19 researchers.
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AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and IBM are among the companies offering free resources to research teams via the COVID-19 HPC Consortium. Launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, US Department of Energy (DoE) and IBM, the joint effort encourages researchers to submit a two-page description of the proposed work that 'contributes to our understanding of COVID-19 and/or improves the nation's ability to respond to the pandemic.' Proposals must estimate the type and amount of resources required, support needs, and research team qualifications for preparing and performing simulations. Other organizations involved include the National Science Foundation, NASA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and several Department of Energy (DoE) National Laboratories, including Oak Ridge and Los Alamos.
IBM, whose Power9 servers are widely deployed in DoE National Laboratories, cites compute-intensive workloads in bioinformatics, epidemiology and molecular modeling as being critical to understanding the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposals can be submitted via an online portal, after which they will be evaluated by a panel of experts and, if selected, matched with a provider. Teams using these resources are expected to publish results in open scientific literature.
AWS is offering technical support and promotional credits for projects involved in the diagnosis, treatment and vaccine studies related to the virus. C-type (compute-optimized) and P-type (GPU) instances are among the resources being pledged. The company highlights its ability to access massive capacity quickly as an enabler of time-critical projects.
Microsoft will provide grants as part of its AI for Health program, including support from data science experts, Azure cloud compute and other HPC resources. Additionally, the vendor is part of a consortium that has created the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) to apply artificial intelligence to sift through more than 24,000 scholarly articles related to the disease and the virus that causes it.
Google Cloud is offering access to its HPC resources for academic researchers.
The Consortium is welcoming additional members that can contribute 'significant compute resources' to the cause. The group's portal is hosted by the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), a virtual organization funded by the National Science Foundation to integrate and coordinate the sharing of advanced digital services.
As Research Vice President, Owen Rogers leads the firm's Digital Economics Unit, which serves to help customers understand the economics behind digital and cloud technologies so they can make informed choices when costing and pricing their own products and services, as well as those from their vendors, suppliers and competitors.