U.S. needs national strategic computing reserve

Scientists began making rapid progress in understanding the disease last spring as the world began to address the horrific scale and transmission of the COVID pandemic. In many discoveries, progress was helped by world-class supercomputers and data systems, and research results proceeded with unprecedented efficiency. From understanding the structure of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to modeling its spread and treatments. Control the effects of the virus from vaccines, medical reactions.

The computer-based epidemiological model is Informed public policy Newly studied virus transmission models are used in the United States and countries around the world to predict resource availability and mortality stratified by age group at the county level. Efforts for drug screening through artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches Finding candidate drugs from trillions of possible chemical compounds, and Differential gene expression between patient populations It is analyzed with important implications for treatment planning. Structural modeling of viruses It also leads to new insights and accelerates the development of vaccines and antigens.

Long-term investment in basic research and infrastructure, and the ability to quickly utilize resources to respond to crises COVID-19 High Performance Computing (HPC) Consortium It brought about those results. But this pandemic is not the last crisis we face, and one of the important lessons we have learned is the importance of preparing for future emergencies.

Currently, the leader behind HPC suggests: National Strategic Computing Reserve (NSCR) provides investigators with access to funding, talent and cyber infrastructure in the event of a future crisis (infectious disease, record wildfire, severe storm, etc.).

Supercomputing network to fight COVID

Is HPC Consortium Launched March 23, 2020, only one since the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, and IBM decided to mobilize supercomputing resources and expertise from across the government. It worked in a week. Academia, non-profit organizations, industry.

The consortium has rapidly attracted new research proposals and additional resources and service providers, now spanning three continents, and some countries have launched their own activities modeled after the original consortium. Today, 43 members provide more total computing power than any single system on the planet. This is equivalent to 10.15 Calculation operation every second. This is a powerful tool Researchers continue to make progress..

The success of the consortium is built on decades of strategic investment in advanced computing, cyber infrastructure and basic research by government agencies, businesses, universities and nonprofits. Its swift and agile establishment reflected a shared urgency and a foundation of experience and trust. Such collaboration requires decentralized coordination and flexibility. Operating model pioneered by NSF Powerful computers, high-speed networks, sophisticated software, and large amounts of data collection for nearly 40 years as institutions have worked with academic, industry, and institutional partners to build, manage, and maintain advanced computing infrastructure across the country. This combination supports breakthrough science such as gravitational wave detection and the first image of a black hole, enabling outcomes such as detailed North Pole mapping and storm prediction. After the hurricane Harvey, it rushes down the Mississippi River.

Secure infrastructure for the emergence of a new crisis

NSCR builds on such attributes to support the urgent computing needs of future emergencies. It is readily available, along with all the elements of a fast computational response, along with important software, data, services, and technical expertise. Just as strategic petroleum stockpiling enhances the resilience of a country’s energy infrastructure, such computing reserves enhance the resilience of a country.

One path towards that goal is outlined in the OSTP-led National Strategic Plan. Advanced computing ecosystem of the futureThis plan demonstrates a coordinated approach to developing the country’s next-generation advanced computing ecosystem as a strategic resource across governments, academia, nonprofits, and industries. Recently, Multiple agency requests for information on the NSCR concept The agency provided insightful information to the agency as it considered the next step.

These ideas are still in their infancy, but some parameters are clear. Speed ​​and agility are essential, as are agreements between participants, operational structures and processes, agreed “triggers” to initiate reserves, and criteria for returning to normal. operation. Ensuring that you are ready through regular tests and exercises, and the need for coordination and partnership with domain experts and other relevant reserves are other important factors. A trained workforce that can help scientists develop, operate, and use these systems is also important. Finally, such reserves need to be built on a diverse resource base that can only be established through long-term strategic investment in the nation’s advanced cyber infrastructure.

Global climate change, population pressure and environmental stress are some of the reasons for the prospect of future emergencies, whether or not they include another pandemic. Violent storms with floods and other threats to public health and safety, such as those seen in the Gulf and southern Mississippi. Or a wildfire that has recently devastated parts of California and has deteriorated the air quality of areas far beyond the effects of the fire itself. In all these examples, the ability to use large computational models and data has proven to be important for mobilizing effective responses and saving lives.

The COVID-19 HPC Consortium has demonstrated the important role of computing and data analysis and the importance of quickly providing these resources in the hands of professionals to respond to national crises. The recent emergence of more aggressive SARS-CoV-2 virus variants reminds us that a new crisis may arrive sooner than expected. But with a systematic, agile and sustainable approach to revitalizing the nation’s strategic computing reserves, and continued investment in research and advanced cyber infrastructure, we are ready. ..

The opinions expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

This is an opinion and analysis article. U.S. needs national strategic computing reserve

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