GPU and CPU companies fight the virus

The PC GPU and CPU suppliers came forward and quickly to offer what they had in equipment, personal, and money.

Jon Peddie
Image credit Elgin Community College


When a national calamity strikes, like an earthquake, hurricane, Tsunami, or flood, almost everyone wants to help, to do something. Usually, all that can be done is to make a donation to the first responders to make sure they have adequate suppliers and resources.

When a pandemic strikes the need for and the desire for help is elevated significantly.

But what can you do?

The PC GPU and CPU suppliers came forward and quickly offered what they had in equipment, personal, and money.

AMD and Penguin Computing will be giving supercomputers to New York University (NYU), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Rice University. They are the first universities named to receive complete AMD-powered, high-performance computing systems from the AMD HPC Fund for Covid-19 research. AMD also announced it will contribute a cloud-based system powered by AMD Epyc and AMD Radeon Instinct processors located on-site at Penguin Computing, providing remote supercomputing capabilities for selected researchers around the world. Combined, the donated systems will collectively provide researchers with more than seven petaflops of compute power that can be applied to fight Covid-19.

The recipient universities are expected to use the new compute capacity across a range of pandemic-related workloads including genomics, vaccine development, transmission science, and modeling. Additionally, scientists from around the world conducting Covid-19 research can request access to the remote AMD-powered cloud HPC cluster at Penguin Computing by submitting proposals to [email protected].

Intel is pledging an additional $50 million in a pandemic response. Included in Intel’s effort is an additional innovation fund for requests where access to Intel expertise and resources can have immediate impact. This is in addition to prior announcements of $10 million in donations that are supporting local communities during this critical time.

Approximately $40 million will fund the Intel Covid-19 Response and Readiness and Online Learning initiatives. The Intel Covid-19 Response and Readiness Initiative will provide funding to accelerate customer and partner advances in diagnosis, treatment, and vaccine development, leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), high-performance computing, and edge-to-cloud service delivery. Through the initiative, Intel will help healthcare and life sciences manufacturers increase the availability of technology and solutions used by hospitals to diagnose and treat Covid-19. It will also support the creation of industry alliances that accelerate worldwide capacity, capability, and policy to respond to this and future pandemics, building on Intel’s own experience in driving technology innovation in the health and life sciences arena.

The company has also allocated up to $10 million for an innovation fund that supports requests from external partners and employee-led relief projects, addressing critical needs in their communities. Intel is working with India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, to deploy Intel client and server solutions to help achieve faster and less expensive Covid-19 testing and coronavirus genome sequencing to understand epidemiology and AI-based risk stratification for patients with comorbidities. Medical Informatics Corp.’s (MIC) Sickbay platform, powered by Intel technology, is a solution that can turn beds into virtual ICU beds in minutes, help protect critical care workers from risk of exposure with clinical distancing and expand their care capacity

Nvidia said it will bring it GPU, HPC, and AI Expertise to battle Covid-19. A task force of Nvidia computer scientists has joined the Covid-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, which brings together leaders from the U.S. government, industry, and academia to accelerate research using the world’s most powerful HPC resources. The consortium’s objective is to accelerate development of effective methods to detect, contain, and treat the coronavirus. It will support researchers by providing access to 30 supercomputers with over 400 petaflops of compute performance.

The Nvidia team has expertise across a variety of critical domains, including AI, supercomputing, drug discovery, molecular dynamics, genomics, medical imaging, and data analytics. It’s led by Ian Buck, vice president and general manager of Accelerated Computing. The Nvidia task force will help the consortium by:

Applying AI: Nvidia brings expertise in AI to help the consortium’s scientific teams ingest and process more data, faster to deliver better insights in less time. Accelerating science: Nvidia brings more than a decade of expertise in molecular biology, medical imaging, genomics, and computational fluid dynamics and visualization. Optimizing computing at scale: Nvidia brings expertise in optimizing throughput of supercomputers. Optimizing performance is as important as adding more computing resources — a 20 percent optimization, for example, on a 330 petaflops system is equal to 60 petaflops, equivalent to the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world.

Nvidia will also contribute the packaging of software for relevant AI and life-sciences software applications through Nvidia NGC, a hub for GPU-accelerated software. The Covid-19 research tools on NGC, all publicly available, are optimized for use on a broad range of GPU platforms, including supercomputers, Nvidia DGX systems, NGC-qualified servers, public cloud GPU instances, and Nvidia Quadro workstation GPUs.