Pandemic viruses are one of the most threatening things that most of us can contemplate. Fortunately, some big guns are aimed at the potential problem. The Scripps Research Institute and IBM have announced a new collaboration called "Check-mate" which will capitalize on Scripps Research’s world class research in biochemical modeling and drug discovery and IBM’s expertise in computational biology and supercomputing. The joint research team will use IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputer, the world’s fastest supercomputer to simulate how the potential pandemic virus ticks and devise models of containment.
The joint team will leverage their expertise in bioinformatics, structural biology, life sciences, functional genomics, systems biology, and medical informatics to accelerate an understanding of infectious diseases such as Avian Influenza. Rather than wait for a crisis and then try to figure out what happened, the team will build digital representations of these complex viruses pro-actively. The initial efforts will focus on the genetic variations of the viruses and potential methodologies to anticipate and contain the disease. Hopefully, the result will be an improved way to fight pandemic viruses before they become a plague — “Checkmate”.