As COVID-19 continues to spread, we are acutely aware of the impact this is having on families, businesses, and communities. This is a global health emergency that will only be resolved by governments, businesses, academia, and individuals working together to better understand this virus and ultimately find a cure.
The AI community especially has been at the forefront to fight against COVID-19 by offering solutions with the help of state-of-the-art-algorithms. However, for these machine learning models to work, they need tremendous amounts of computational power. In order to mitigate the operational costs of finding the solution, the hardware and cloud giants have stepped up to offer free services.
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Alibaba Cloud Offers AI Cloud Services
After bringing down the prediction time for diagnosis using AI, Alibaba now wants the whole world to come up with their own unique solutions to fight COVID-19. They are now offering Elastic High Performance Computing (HPC) technology to worldwide researchers to accelerate drug and vaccine discovery.
They have explained in their blog, how their technology has supported around 20 research groups implementing their research on COVID-19 with the help of Elastic High Performance Computing (E-HPC) technology that helps researchers find solutions for AI-driven-Drug-Design (AIDDD) for COVID-19.
NVIDIA has announced that it will be giving access to its Parabricks for 90 days to promote research on COVID-19 drug discovery. Analysing genomic data is computationally intensive. Therefore, time and cost are significant barriers to using genomics data for precision medicine. But, NVIDIA Parabricks Genomics Analysis Toolkit breaks down those barriers, providing GPU-accelerated genomic analysis.
By accelerating the existing CPU-only pipelines on GPUs, NVIDIA Parabricks Germline Pipeline provides more than 40 times faster analysis for an individual sample. By processing the FASTQ input files, the system generates sorted, marked BAM/CRAM files and variant call files (VCF or gVCF).
NVIDIA Parabricks’ pipelines have been tested on Dell, HPE, IBM, and NVIDIA servers at Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
NVIDIA advises users to start with a small server for a small number of samples and then use full-scale GPU servers to meet their needs.
AWS’ Diagnostic Development Initiative
Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the most preferred cloud partners across the world, has announced that it is committing $20 million to accelerate research with regards to COVID-19 diagnostics.
This AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative will support customers who are working to bring better diagnostics solutions to market faster.
“Funding will be provided through a combination of AWS in-kind credits and technical support to assist the customers’ research teams in harnessing the full potential of the cloud to tackle this challenge,” stated AWS in their blog.
The program will be open to accredited research institutions and private entities that are using AWS to support research-oriented workloads for the development of point-of-care diagnostics (testing that can be done at home or at a clinic with same-day results).
Rescale Partners with Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure
Rescale Inc in cooperation with Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, announced a new program on Monday that immediately offers high-performance computing resources (HPC) at no cost to teams working to develop test kits and vaccines for COVID-19.
Researchers can rapidly run simulations on the cloud without setup time or IT teams using Rescale’s platform combined with cloud computing resources from Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.
“Rescale’s platform can provide access to high-performance computing resources that can help accelerate key processes and enable stronger collaboration,” said Manvinder Singh, Director, Partnerships at Google Cloud.
Now You Can Donate Your GPUs As Well
Folding@home, a distributed computing project that encourages scientists to volunteer and run simulations of protein dynamics on their personal computers.
Last month, Folding@home announced that it is joining researchers from around the world working to accelerate the open science effort, where researchers are working to advance the understanding of the structures of potential drug targets for 2019-nCoV that could aid in the design of new therapies.
With all the top companies offering their best of services for free, we can safely assume that the research for COVID-19 diagnostics will accelerate.