MORRISVILLE – Lenovo, the world’s top producer of supercomputers as well as PCs, is teaming up with electronic chip giant Intel and a China-based life science company in an effort to speed up analysis of the coronavirus genome and thus find a means to “save more lives” by possibly accelerating vaccine development.

Scientists worldwide are searching for a vaccine to counter the virus, which is spreading worldwide.

“The epidemic of new coronavirus pneumonia affects the hearts of people across the country. Lenovo, as the world ’s leading HPC [high-performance comptuing] manufacturer, has been committed to providing computing support for life science research,” said Tong Fuyao, senior vice president of Lenovo Group and president of its Enterprise Technology Group.

“Big data analysis and health and life science experts from Intel and Lenovo will integrate our resources and expertise to help solve the serious challenges currently facing and advance the development of health and life sciences.”

Lenovo, which operates dual headquarters in Morrisville as well as in Beijing, bases most of its operations in China. But much of its supercompuer and high-performance computing work is coordinated and led from a research center in the Triangle. Lenovo has warned that the coronavirus is hurting its operations due to impact on workers at plants and production as well as its supply chain.

Collaboration with Intel on high-performance data crunching isn’t new.

Recently, Lenovo also teamed up with Intel to build Harvard University’s newest supercomputer that’s capable of improving even exascale computing. Exascale means the power to make a billion billion, or quintillion, calculations per second.

Lenovo warns coronavirus creating ‘constraints and delays’ in China

The third partner in the effort to unravel to COVID-19 coronavirus is BGI. Lenovo and Intel said its researchers will provide computing power and expertise to “further enhance the analysis capabilities of their gene sequencing tools, and more efficiently research new coronaviruses genome characteristics.”

“At present, we still don’t know much about this new coronavirus. BGI analyzes the viral genome data to accelerate the research on the rapid identification and genomic characteristics of infected people, and these tasks require huge computing resources,” said Wang Rui, vice president of Intel Marketing Group and general manager of China.

“This is where we can play a role. Therefore, we work closely together to provide more computing resources and professional support for scientists who are conducting virus research in the frontline of epidemic prevention, hoping to race against cunning viruses, help prevent and control epidemics, and save more lives. ”

Lenovo and Intel have provided what they call a “large high-performance computing cluster” which they say  “can be used to process high-throughput data” from a genome sequencing system developed by BGI.

“BGI researchers will be able to further accelerate their research on the genome characteristics of new coronaviruses with new high-performance computing and genomic analysis technologies, as well as relevant resources and expertise from Intel and Lenovo,” the companies said.

“This technology will support scientists in studying the toxicity, transmission mode, and interactions between pathogens and hosts, which will help epidemiological and vaccine design research. These efforts are necessary to create better diagnostic methods and design effective vaccines or other protective measures (such as immunotherapy) in the future.”

BGI is based in Shenzhen, China.

Note: This story is based on reports in international media and a Google translation of a press release at this site.

A billion billion per second: Lenovo, Intel drive Harvard supercomputer to faster calcuations