With the help of a supercomputer, researchers in China have created first-ever virtual model of a disease at the atomic level which allows for more flexible and quick development.

A research team out of the Institute of Process Engineering of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS-IPE) has created the first-ever computational model of the H1N1 virus at the atomic level.

The team was able to account for every last atom in the H1N1 virus with the combination of a Mole-8.5 supercomputer and 2,200 graphics processors. Their breakthrough was twofold. Not only is the H1N1 virus better understood, the team’s use of technology was novel. Prior to their research epidemiology and virology — two fields that study disease strains and how they may affect a population — were studied almost exclusively in the lab; this new supercomputer-centric way of dealing with diseases and viruses was simply not possible a few years ago.

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