Leuven-based supercomputer helps fighting against the corona virus

24/03/2020

The fight against the corona virus will require rough means. This message has been well understood by the Flemish Supercomputer Center (VSC). The VSC announced that it will make a supercomputer available to researchers in order to find a solution against the virus that affects us all in a certain way.

A supercomputer is very different from the computer in your living room. They can perform complex calculations in seconds, which would otherwise require thousands of computers. The fastest computer you can find in Flanders is the BrENIAC Tier-1, which can be found at the KU Leuven. It will not yet be able to compete with supercomputers such as Sycamore from Google or Summit from IBM, but we are already talking about quantum computers, another class of computers.

With the use of BrENIAC, researchers will once again have many new possibilities in their research into a solution against the corona virus. Some tasks that the supercomputer can easily handle are modelling molecules that can be used in a medicine, or calculating epidemiological models that map the spread of the virus.

The Flemish Minister of Innovation and Science Policy is already very pleased that the VSC makes the supercomputer available. According to the Minister, a good technological infrastructure is available for research purposes, and should be fully deployed in a crisis such as this. She added that she finds it 'heartwarming' that everyone, from citizens to researchers, set up their own initiatives to combat the corona virus.

The Flemish Supercomputer Center is a center managed by the Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen. The five Flemish universities, the Free University of Brussels, the University of Antwerp, the University of Ghent, the University of Hasselt and the Catholic University of Leuven, are also affiliated to the center.