IT Infrastructure: IBM Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer Helps Medical Researchers Fight the Common Cold

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-07-17 Print this article Print
Blue Gene/Q

Blue Gene/Q

This machine, Victoria Life Sciences Computation Initiative's IBM Blue Gene/Q at the University of Melbourne, is helping researchers search for a cure for the common cold.
Researchers in Melbourne, Australia, are now simulating in 3D the motion of the complete human rhinovirus (HRV)—the most frequent cause of the common cold—using Australia's fastest supercomputer, an IBM Blue Gene/Q. A new antiviral drug to treat rhinovirus infections in development at Melbourne-based Biota Holdings targets patients with medical conditions whose health or lives could be threatened if they are exposed to the common cold. In conjunction with researchers at the IBM Research Collaboratory for Life Sciences–Melbourne, scientists from St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research and the University of Melbourne are using information on how the new drug works to create a 3D simulation of the complete rhinovirus on IBM supercomputing technology. To help pave the way for new drug development, researchers are working to build a fully atomistic, 3D simulation of HRV. According to IBM, these calculations are the first to include not only the 3 million-plus atoms of the rhinovirus capsid—or outer shell—and their aqueous environment, but also the virus' ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome, that packet of genetic information necessary for the virus to replicate. Here, eWEEK takes a look at how these technologies are used to fight the common cold.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel