Eni has made its supercomputing infrastructure and molecular modeling capability available for coronavirus research. The collaboration is part of the European EXSCALATE4CoV project, led by biopharmaceutical company Dompé, under which institutions and research centers in Italy and other countries in Europe collaborate to identify the safest and most promising drugs for treating the coronavirus. Eni is in a partnership with Cineca, a research consortium involving universities, national research centers, and the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research.
The joint team will conduct dynamic molecular simulations of viral proteins relevant to the COVID-19 strain, in an attempt to identify the most effective pharmaceutical components among the 10,000 present in the databases. Research will then follow into new anti-viral molecules through the screening of billions of structures.
Eni is providing the consortium with its HPC5 supercomputing system, unveiled in February, and which the company claims is the world's most powerful supercomputer for industrial use. Its hybrid architecture is said to make the algorithms for molecular simulation particularly efficient.
The HPC5 supports the previous system (HPC4) by tripling its computing power from 18 to 52 PetaFlop/s, equivalent to 52 million billion mathematical operations/s, allowing the company’s supercomputing ‘ecosystem’ to attain total peak power of 70 PetaFlop/s.