The IFIC offers the computing resources of the ATLAS experiment to simulate coronavirus proteins

  • Institute of Corpuscular Physics
  • April 29th, 2020

The Institute of Corpuscular Physics (IFIC) offers the resources of its computing centre dedicated to ATLAS experiment, one of the two biggest detectors of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of CERN, to simulate proteins that the novel coronavirus uses to spread COVID-19. Together with other Tier-2 centres of ATLAS experiment in Spain and in the world, the IFIC collaborates with the international project Folding@home (FAH or F@h), consisting of mainly the US labs to study the molecular mechanisms of SARS-COV-2 reproduction.

The IFIC, a joint centre of the Universitat de València and the Spanish Research Council (CSIC), has made available their supercomputing resources for the researchers of the Folding@home project to study COVID-19.

The project Folding@home uses the calculating resources from all around the world to realise protein motion simulations, thus, looking for the weaknesses in the mechanism with which the virus infects the human cells. With this method, the team involving the US and the European labs identified a section of the proteing with the Ebola virus which had not been considered as target cells to treat the disease previously .

With regard to the novel coronavirus SARS-COV-2 provoking COVID-19, Folding@home uses the same methdology in collaboration with the computing centres from all over the world. This is when the ATLAS resources of Tier-2 of the IFIC computing centre come into play. Tier-2 is the biggest Spanish node in the network which stores and analyses data from one of the greatest LHC experiments, the ATLAS detector, and the IFIC plays an important role in this project. The ATLAS resources of the Tier-2 in the IFIC, which have been made available for the project, are approved and funded by the State Research Agency (AEI) of Spain via the National Plan for Particle Physics.

Some members of this computing network collaborating on ATLAS project have joined the activity, offering their computing centres. After verifying that the simulation works on the IFIC platform, as of 8 April, the researchers started to fulfil the tasks of coronavirus SARS-COV-2 simulation at the IFIC, as shown on the image.

Meanwhile, the IFIC has made available its computing infrastructure for the Artificial Intelligence – Artemisa – for the COVID-19 research community. Artemisa is funded by the European Union and the Valencian government (Generalitat Valenciana) within the 2014-2020 operating programme FEDER of the Valencian community aiming to acquire the research, development and innovation (R+D+i) infrastructures and equipment.