World’s Most Powerful and Greenest Industrial Supercomputer Tackles COVID-19

The HPC5 supercomputer is known for being one of the most powerful, green systems around. Now, it’s tackling research on COVID-19.

ENI, based in Italy and one of seven “supermajor” oil companies in the world, puts its Dell Technologies-based HPC5 supercomputing resources, tools and skills toward coronavirus research.

The ENI HPC5 supercomputer, powered by Dell Technologies, has garnered a lot of attention since it was introduced in February of 2020 — primarily because ENI is an oil and gas company and the HPC5 supercomputer is one of the greenest on the planet.

The company is now putting the resources of HPC5 toward coronavirus research saying, “the COVID-19 public health emergency is an unprecedented crisis that is radically changing our lives, putting us all to the test. We will only overcome it by acting together.”

To that end, ENI is undertaking a series of major initiatives to support those fighting the pandemic. One of these involves making the HPC5 supercomputer and its molecular modelling skills freely available to coronavirus researchers as part of the European private-public consortium known as  Exscalate4Cov initiative.

The EXaSCale smArt pLatform Against paThogEns (Exscalate) initiative is dedicated to using European supercomputing to accelerate the search for drugs against COVID-19. It brings together eight partners and taps into the supercomputing competencies and resources available from ENI and the Marconi-100 system at the CINECA Italian supercomputing center, a non-profit research consortium that includes universities, national research centers and the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research.

The Exscalate4Cov initiative, with the supercomputing resources and expertise of ENI behind it, will allow teams to carry out dynamic molecular simulations of viral proteins whose methods of infection are similar to COVID-19. This will help them identify good candidates for pharmaceutical compounds from a potential list of around 10,000. The team can then accelerate the virtual screening process of 500 billion molecules to find new, specific antiviral molecules of potential therapeutic drugs.

According to Claudio Descalzi, CEO of ENI: “During a global emergency such as this, we must mobilize all available resources to overcome the challenges ahead. We are proud to contribute to finding solutions to this challenge facing humanity.”

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Thierry Pellegrino

About the Author: Thierry Pellegrino

Thierry Pellegrino is vice president of business strategy for Server and Infrastructure Systems at Dell EMC and general manager for Dell EMC’s high performance computing (HPC) business. A 20-year Dell veteran, Thierry is an experienced leader with a background in engineering, go-to-market, technology and strategy. During his tenure at Dell, Thierry led the first Dell converged infrastructure product (M1000e), assembled the Global OEM Custom Engineering organization, led technology strategy for the Dell and EMC combination. In his current role, he leads all aspects of the global HPC business for Dell EMC (engineering across the full portfolio, product management, go-to-market and enablement). Thierry also forms and shapes the business strategy direction for multiple value chain organizations tied to the Dell EMC server business for the next 5-10 years, working closely with product teams and the CTO organization. Thierry has a strong global background. Born and raised in France, he also speaks five languages. He spent his last 20 years in Austin, Texas, where he currently lives with his family.