Gamers, Big Tech, Even La Liga Soccer Link Computers to Fight COVID-19 in Washington U. Study

By Max Kozlov, St. Louis Post Dispatch
Jul 7, 2020 12:00 PM ET

Researchers investigating some of humanity’s most vexing diseases began reaching out 20 years ago to nerds, gamers and even giant high-tech corporations across the world, hoping to borrow unused time on their computers. They signed up thousands, who donated their computing power so the scientists could better research cancer, Alzheimer’s and the Ebola virus, among others.

Now those scientists have turned their attention to the new coronavirus.

Washington University researchers, who are leading the project, are running complex computer simulations that model the building blocks of the new coronavirus in 3-D. But with the cost of supercomputing time astronomically expensive and equally hard to reserve, and researchers needing even more power, the team has again turned to the computers of the world for help.

Millions have responded.

Large technology companies — including Microsoft, Avast, Amazon Web Services, Pure Storage, AMD, VMware, Cisco, Oracle and the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which runs the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator — have offered their vast computing resources.

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