The Folding@Home non-profit organization has created the world’s fastest supercomputer from volunteers loaning spare time on their home PCs to fold proteins, a task that could prove instrumental in the fight against the coronavirus. Scientists are using this enormous amount of compute power to simulate viral proteins in an effort to reveal new coronavirus therapeutic treatments.
Folding@Home uses the Khronos OpenCL™ open standard for parallel programming to offload computations onto the GPUs contained in the networked home PCs that are often used for gaming – significantly boosting available compute power.
According to Folding@Home, the combined power of its network broke 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second – or one “exaflop” – on 25 March, making it the world’s fastest supercomputer. In fact, it is six times more powerful than the current world’s fastest traditional supercomputer, the IBM Summit, which is used for scientific research at the US’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. By April 13, it had more than doubled that, hitting a new record of 2.4 exaflops, faster than the top 500 traditional supercomputers combined, thanks to almost 1 million new members of the network (Source: The Guardian).