NARLabs’ National Center for High-Performance Computing (NCHC) initiated the “Safeguarding Taiwan - Anti-Pandemic Technology” project earlier this month by releasing the computation, storage, and big data resources from its international supercomputer Taiwan Computing Cloud (TWCC) to the public. This measure was taken to elicit proposals for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic that require supercomputer capacity. On April 20, 2020, it was further announced that long-term partner NVIDIA is providing their Parabricks Genome-Sequencing and Analysis Software free of charge for 90 days to developers applying for anti-epidemic TWCC use. The combination of TWCC with the analysis tools in Parabricks is sure to accelerate medical research into genome sequencing data analysis, making it as much as 50 times faster, and enhancing Taiwan’s technological capabilities in the battle against COVID-19.
In the face of a global pandemic, NCHC is mobilizing its state-of-the-art AI supercomputer TWCC along with its platform resources with over fifty thousand datasets to provide an optimal research environment to developers working on a variety of problems arising from this crisis. The Parabricks Genome-Sequencing and Analysis Software provided by NVIDIA assists medical researchers by providing secondary analysis software for executing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) on DNA data. This super-fast and low-cost method cuts down the analysis process from several days to less than one hour. The technology can accelerate studies into the possibility of the virus and human genome having interactions or a mutual evolutionary relationship, providing information beneficial in understanding the scientific evidence required to assess similar epidemic incidents.
By combining professional Genome Sequencing and Analysis Software with the world-class AI computing specifications that TWCC possesses, the partnership between NCHC and NVIDIA has brought together invaluable resources in the hope of providing industry, academia and research facilities with a shot in the arm in the fight against this global pandemic. Additionally, the NCHC’s dataset platform has already collected datasets based on COVID-19 information, including images of pneumonia, medical papers, details of remaining protective face masks at NHI-contracted pharmacies (including the locations of medical institutions), and global statistics of confirmed cases for like-minded partners to add to or utilize. These efforts enable us to band together and use technology to safeguard Taiwan.
NCHC Director General Shepherd Shi expressed his satisfaction in the fact that Taiwan is able to harness technology and cooperate with international partners in the fight against this global pandemic. TWCC will continue to bring together global expertise through the use of first-rate high-performance computing and big data platforms, providing a strong base for Taiwan’s technological development.