Ethereum
$143.04 -1.65%
ETH · 2w

Thousands of These Computers Were Mining Cryptocurrency. Now They're Working on Coronavirus Research

CoreWeave, the largest U.S. miner on the Ethereum blockchain, is redirecting the processing power of 6,000 specialized computer chips toward research to find a therapy for the coronavirus.

These graphics processing units (GPUs) will be pointed toward Stanford University's [email protected], a long-standing research effort that unveiled a project on Feb. 27 specifically to boost coronavirus research by way of a unique approach to developing pharmaceutical drugs: connecting thousands of computers from around the world to form a distributed supercomputer for disease research.

CoreWeave co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Brian Venturo said the project has at least a shot at finding a drug for the virus. As such, CoreWeave has responded by doubling the power of the entire network with its GPUs, which are designed to handle repetitive calculations.

According to Venturo, those 6,000 GPUs made up about 0.2 percent of Ethereum's total hashrate, earning roughly 28 ETH per day, worth about $3,600 at press time. 

There is no cure for the coronavirus just yet (though various groups are working on vaccines and research to combat the disease, including IBM's supercomputer). Venturo noted that [email protected] has been used to contribute to breakthroughs in the creation of other important drugs. 

"Their research had profound impacts on the development of front-line HIV defense drugs, and we are hoping our [computing power] will aid in the fight against coronavirus," Venturo said.

The coronavirus is taking a toll across the world. Italy and Spain are on lockdown. Conferences, stores and restaurants are closing to stem the spread of the disease; by stoking fears, it's slamming the financial markets in the process. 

World computer

When the idea of using GPUs for coronavirus research was mentioned to CoreWeave, the team didn't think twice. 

They had a test system up and running "within minutes," Venturo said. Since t...

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