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Eni’s new HPC5 supercomputer is helping to develop a vaccine against COVID-19

07 september 2020, 09:00

Eni’s new HPC5 supercomputer is helping to develop a vaccine against COVID-19
In Eni's Green Data Center, they launched the HPC5, the most powerful industrial supercomputer in the world, at the beginning of February. After the outbreak of the corona pandemic, Eni decided to make its supercomputer and knowledge available to science.
The HPC5 is the successor to the HPC4, Eni’s first supercomputer, launched in 2018. Both are installed in Eni’s Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone, 100 kilometres south of Milan. The supercomputers help Eni with its transformation in the energy transition and to speed up the development of new energy sources.
1820 servers
The HPC5 is also the fastest supercomputer in the world that’s not government property. The enormous computing power of 51.7 million billion mathematical operations per second is attributable to 1820 (!) servers linked to it, each with 2 ultra-fast Intel Core processors and 4 accelerators. When the HPC4 and HPC5 work together, the resulting computing power is 70 petaflops (a million billion mathematical operations per second). The computers run partially on solar power.
The HPC5 combines geophysical and seismic information from across the globe into unprecedentedly accurate analyses of what’s happening out of sight kilometres below the earth’s surface. Zohr, the largest natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, was discovered thanks to the HPC5’s advanced internal algorithms.
After the global coronavirus outbreak, Eni decided to make the HPC5 available for scientific research in the struggle to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Scientists from the European EXSCALATE4CoV project use the supercomputer to run simulations of the molecular dynamics in viral protein, relevant for the COVID-19 strain.
The search for antibodies
The HPC5 also helps to identify the most effective components out of tens of thousands of pharmaceutical components, as quickly as possible. Scientists also use the combined computing power of 70 million billion calculations to analyse billions of structures in research to find new antibodies against the coronavirus.
‘In a global emergency such as this, we must mobilise all the available resources to face the challenges heading our way’, explains Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s CEO. ‘We are happy that we can contribute to finding solutions to the challenges that now so clearly plague humanity.’
Click here for more information and videos about the HPC5 supercomputer

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