In brief:

  • Folding@Home now counts Amazon Web Services among its allies fighting the coronavirus.
  • AWS ranks 20th in the top contributors of processing power.
  • The US government compiles a consortium of tech firms to join the fray.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has added a heap of computing power to Folding@Home's fight against the coronavirus. It is now the third biggest contributor to the project.

Folding@Home is a distributed computing project that harnesses the spare processing power of computers around the world to research remedies for disease. Its latest efforts are on working out how to create a coronavirus cure. 

As reported by Decrypt, over 1 million PC owners have joined the fray, donating over one exaflop of processing power to Folding@Home—creating the world's fastest supercomputer.

Now, with the addition of AWS, the supercomputer just got that much more powerful.

"A mysterious team called "AWSFolds" is using a massive amount of AWS spot capacity," wrote a Twitter user.

In the few weeks since AWS joined, it managed to climb up the ranks in almost no time at all. While it only started ramping up its processing power on April 27, it is already ranked 20th in all-time contribution. But with its massive resources, those using their home computers are starting to feel irrelevant. 

"I know every WU counts, but with all these big boys stepping in, I almost feel useless. Almost," wrote one contributor. A WU, or Work Unit, is a unit of measurement of computing power. 

AWS is not the only big firm to take part. A consortium of tech firms are getting involved in the project. 

Assembled by the US Federal Government, the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium includes industry leaders ranging from AWS, Google Cloud, and IBM, to Microsoft, NVIDIA and Hewlett Packard Enterprise—all united to provide as much processing power as humanly possible.

"Fighting COVID-19 will require extensive research in areas like bioinformatics, epidemiology, and molecular modeling to understand the threat we're facing and form strategies to address it,” reads the consortium manifesto, "This work demands a massive amount of computational capacity."

The consortium hopes that by rendering access to a bulk of resources, researchers will be better equipped to find treatments for the coronavirus.