The Hartree Centre, based at the Sci-Tech Daresbury, a science and innovation campus in the North West, provides High Performance Computing (HPC), data analytics and artificial intelligence technologies to industry and academic research communities.
Part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the Hartree Centre is backed by significant UK government funding and strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as IBM, Atos and Siemens.
The Hartree Centre is supporting global efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic through partnering with the Folding @ Home project, led by the Washington University School of Medicine, in order to simulate protein behaviour using their Scafell Pike supercomputer.
This project uses distributed computing resources from across the world, including HPC facilities and personal computing equipment, to simulate the dynamics of proteins involved in diseases such as COVID-19.
Through simulating protein folding and drug interactions, scientists can better understand how viral proteins work, as well as identify potential therapeutic targets and drugs that could be used to treat the disease.
The Hartree Centre plays a specific role in this COVID-19 research by removing bottlenecks associated with the simulation of new drug structures. By performing the initial simulation, drug structures can be distributed to other Folding @ Home members more rapidly, allowing them to simulate the interactions between drug structures and COVID-19 whilst making the most of the existing network of computing resources and getting the results faster and more efficiently.
By combining supercomputing power and advanced simulation capabilities, scientists hope to identify antiviral therapeutics which could be used to tackle COVID-19.
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