Why it matters: Folding@home, a project in which volunteers lend their spare compute power to study the coronavirus and diseases such as cancer, has exceed 1.5 ExaFLOPS of performance. With one ExaFLOP equivalent to a billion billion operations, the network now boasts 1,500,000,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second, making it around ten times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer.
We reported only last week that Folding@Home had acquired 400,000 volunteers and was capable of 470 petaFLOPS of distributed computing performance. Now, that cumulative performance has reached 1.5 ExaFLOPS, thanks to the 4.63 million CPU cores and almost 430,000 GPU it employs.
To give you an idea of what that sort of performance looks like, the world’s most powerful supercomputer—Summit—boasts a peak compute of 200 petaFLOPS and a LINPACK benchmark of 148.6 petaFLOPS.
Thanks to our AMAZING community, we’ve crossed the exaFLOP barrier! That’s over a 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second, making us ~10x faster than the IBM Summit! pic.twitter.com/mPMnb4xdH3— Folding@home (@foldingathome) March 25, 2020
Folding@Home usually researches diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. After adding coronavirus research to its list, the number of volunteers, and its performance, skyrocketed. By understanding the dynamics of Covid-19 proteins using computer simulations, it’s hoped that new therapeutic opportunities will be discovered.
If you want to lend your computer’s spare power toward fighting the coronavirus and a variety of diseases, just download the Folding@Home client. You’ll be joining several tech outlets and hardware vendors, including Nvidia and EVGA, that have put teams together.
The White House also launched the Covid-19 HPC Consortium this past week, allowing researchers access to US-based supercomputers in the hope of expediting research into potential drugs and vaccines for the virus.