The particle physicists from the Slovak Academy of Sciences have joined the worldwide research which contributes to a detailed description of the coronavirus proteins. Through their calculations on a scientific and research node GRID, they produce data which are necessary for a vaccine and medicine development against coronavirus. This node is part of the worldwide network called Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG) which processes the data from experiments on an LHC accelerator at CERN.
“In this critical situation, we decided very promptly to react and contribute to the worldwide endeavour to overcome the pandemic. At the moment, we don´t only do calculations for CERN within the framework of the international projects ATLAS and ALICE. We have loosened these capacities partially for the protein simulations of the new coronavirus, which are essential for finding the right medicine and vaccines. Thanks to a well-considered architecture of the scientific and research node of CERN, which is in Košice, we have very quickly succeeded, without greater changes, to run the necessary calculations,” said Pavol Strižinec from the Institute of Experimental Physics SAS.
The worldwide network of the compute nodes WLGC has its location in Slovakia already for over 20 years. It was built by the scientific community as a reaction to the need of processing a large number of data and simulations for the particle detectors on the largest particle accelerator LHC at CERN. This network provides to the researchers a consistent interface to access the very diversified sources, and thus quickens and simplifies their work with the data.
“Our working-sites were able to hold the operation of these nodes even despite the financing problems from the state´ s side in the previous and this year when we were almost forced to shut this whole node down. By this, we would like to illustrate that investments into the infrastructure of basic scientific research, which are needed on a stable and long-term base, and which are unkept in Slovakia on a long-term basis, will always return in the future, as evidenced by the situation that occurred during these weeks, “ added Pavol Striženec.
In the last week, the nodes have processed approximately 400 tasks which counted the covid simulations (attached picture). Along with the experimental physicists of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, the scientists from the Department of Nuclear Physics and Biophysics, Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics of the Comenius University also participate in the calculations.