May 6, 2009

Flu and Supercomputing

Infection cases by the swine flu virus are reported every day. Watching the 2009 H1N1 Flu Outbreak Map, we can well understand that the swine flu virus is transported by traffic networks. In order to imagine present infection status correctly, this map is much better than common maps that paint out whole country even if only one person is infected.

I guess that many countries are studying propagation of infection by time and location since it could be also useful for bioterrorism cases. For example, IBM is developing Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler (STEM) code and STEM is now available as an open source code from the In April, 2009, Eclipse has approved STEM as a top-level Eclipse Technology Project and the air travel model for every US airport is available to drag in and use. The core team at IBM Almaden Research Center continues to run very large scale computations using large data sets.

With capability of Blue Gene supercomputer technology in mind, a joint team of the Scripps Research Institute and IBM Watson Research Center initiated the Project Checkmate that challenges to investigate smart behavior of avian flu virus and human immune system. IBM simulates a giant molecule structure of H of an avian flu (H5N1) virus with Blue Gene supercomputer where H is hemagglutinin that plays a role of a hook to attach with a host cell.

Still we only know the purpose and concept about Project Checkmate (movie). I hope that we will know good results by the Project Checkmate at some early date.

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