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Fighting COVID-19 using 5G R&D computing capacity


Finding treatments for COVID-19 is difficult, complex work that would normally take years. As infections continue to soar globally, the research race becomes ever more urgent. Time is not on the side of the scientists.

One way to accelerate the search is to run computer simulations of experiments to predict how well chemical compounds inhibit COVID-19. The more computing power scientists have available, the more simulations can be run, boosting the chances of finding a treatment quickly.

An initiative making vast computing capacity available to researchers is the World Community Grid. Volunteers across the globe are joining the Grid to donate spare capacity on their devices to run research calculations. After installing a secure software program, the user simply carries on as normal, typing emails and documents or browsing the Internet. When the computer is not at full capacity or is sitting idle, it automatically runs a simulation in the background. When it finishes, the computer returns the results and requests the next simulation. It all happens unobtrusively without interrupting the users.

The Grid combines the results from millions of devices and sends them to research teams for analysis. Scientists get results in months instead of decades by identifying the most important areas to study in the lab.

NESC - one of the world’s largest OpenStack clouds, joins the effort

The World Community Grid is a simple, effective way to help health researchers and one which Nokia Enterprise and Services Cloud (NESC) is supporting by contributing its spare computing power. Virtual machines used for 5G software development are now also being used in the fight against COVID-19.

NESC is one of the world’s largest OpenStack based clouds with 484,000 cores of compute capacity and 40PB (petabytes) of storage. It is distributed globally across three continents in six Tier-3 data centers and is used by Nokia for hosting mission critical research and development workloads, and soon will start powering the digital transformation journey of enterprises. ISO 27001 certified, NESC has already donated approximately 100 years’ worth of computing time to COVID-19 research, putting it amongst the top contributors during this time of need.

Hopefully, the World Community Grid will help find an effective COVID-19 treatment, but its work won’t stop there. Scientists want to be prepared for the next emergency. Future pandemics could stem from mutations that lead to a new virus variant. To be ready, researchers need swift access to tools that can be deployed as soon as a disease threatens. The Grid can help assess the difficulty of designing molecules to overcome these inevitable mutations.

Nokia is proud to support the Grid in cutting-edge research into humanitarian issues such as COVID, rainfall forecasting, childhood cancer, AIDS and more. Helping solve the world’s biggest problems in health and sustainability is a cause close to Nokia’s values.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokia or @nokianetworks using  #5G #cloud #CES #core 

Ashish Nainwal

About Ashish Nainwal

Heading up Global Service Delivery marketing, Ashish is enthusiastic about how digitalization, robotic automation and Artificial Intelligence is transforming service delivery at Nokia. With well over two decades of telecom know-how built in, he also likes to keep his finger on the pulse of technology innovation & trends. And his other life-enhancing passion is music. He tweets often through: @NainwalAshish

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