[email protected], a computing project that brings its users’ PC resources together in a web of disease-busting research, has announced that it has “crossed the exaFLOP barrier”, meaning its network is performing over one quintillion floating-point operations per second (FLOPS).
One exaFLOP is 1,000 times the operations per second of one petaFLOP. One petaFLOP is 1,000 times the operations per second of one teraFLOP. And one teraFLOP is one trillion floating-point operations per second. In other words, a lot of zeros. Eighteen of them, in fact. That many zeros after a one looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. That’s one quintillion. And that’s how many operations this web of PCs is performing per second, if not more.
This unprecedented upscaling of its operational performance is no doubt due to the surge in its user base who have put their PCs to the task of helping research the novel coronavirus COVID-19. To put it into perspective, though, this exaFLOP performance would be the equivalent of roughly 74,763 Nvidia RTX 2080 Tis operating together at their full capacity.
How did we arrive at this number? (Warning: math incoming.) Well, an RTX 2080 Ti is capable of roughly 13.4 TFLOPS. A petaFLOP is 1,000 TFLOPS, meaning about 74.63 (1,000 divided by 13.4) RTX 2080 Tis together would be capable of roughly one petaFLOP of performance. Multiply this by 1,000 to get to an exaFLOP, and that’s about how many RTX 2080 Tis would be needed: 74,630 of them.
Thanks to our AMAZING community, we’ve crossed the exaFLOP barrier! That’s over a 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second, making us ~10x faster than the IBM Summit! pic.twitter.com/mPMnb4xdH3
All graphics card nonsense aside, this is really, really impressive, and might go some way towards helping us understand the virus at the heart of the current pandemic. [email protected] uses a web of PCs to model diseases in order to figure out how to combat them. Its users can be a part of the effort to discover how COVID-19’s ‘spike protein’ binds to receptors in the lungs. If this can be discovered, it can be combated.
[email protected] also has ‘team’ functionality, meaning you can make your own contribution count towards a certain group’s performance. Perhaps surprisingly, this is a situation where adding a competitive element is actually rather tasteful and positive. A bit of light-hearted competitiveness to help push those overall numbers up into exascale territory isn’t bad at all. Curecoin is currently sitting at the top of the leaderboard, followed by [email protected] and others.
If you want to take part in all this, you can lend your gaming PC to help fight Coronavirus with [email protected] by going to its ‘start folding’ page.