AMD Donates $15 Million In EPYC CPUs And Radeon Instinct GPUs For COVID-19 Research

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AMD is the latest tech company to pledge millions of dollars in aid to support research institutions that are trying to better understand and develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Last week, Intel announced a $50 million initiative, and this week, AMD has announced its own $15 million donation to "accelerate medical research on COVID-19 and other diseases."

In this case, that $15 million donation consists of some of the best enterprise computing hardware on the market: EPYC processors and Radeon Instinct GPU accelerators. EPYC processors are a well-known for their raw power and multi-threaded performance, with Zen 2-based configurations offering up to 64-core and 128-thread muscle. AMD says that it is working with its team of HPC system providers to make the full use of the EPYC donations with "ready-to-install HPC nodes" that can be used at research institutions. 

AMD Radeon Instinct

As for GPUs, Radeon Instinct MI50 accelerators are being provided to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in support of the Corona supercomputer. AMD says that this donation will almost double peak system performance to support modeling of COVID-19 by researchers.

AMD has also aligned itself with the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. Some of the titans in the tech industry that are part of this initiative include IBM, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon and Google. Its mission statement reads:

The COVID-19 High Performance Computing (HPC) Consortium is a unique private-public effort spearheaded by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Energy and IBM to bring together federal government, industry, and academic leaders who are volunteering free compute time and resources on their world-class machines.

There are currently 105,000 nodes actives working on 25 active projects, comprised of 3.8 million CPU cores and 41,000 GPUs delivering 418 PetaFLOPS of compute power.

As for how AMD is handling the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO Dr. Lisa Su says that the company continues to pay its hourly employees “in full” even if they cannot perform their duties right now. It has also increased availability to testing and medical treatments for COVID-19 for employees, and has a minimal number of employees working at its many facility to handle “critical business functions”. 

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AMD CEO Lisa Su

With regards to AMD’s overall business operations, Dr. Su writes:

AMD maintains a robust global supply chain. We are currently supplying our high-performance computing and graphics products to customers with minimal disruption. We are closely monitoring global events for potential impact on either our manufacturing or partner facilities and adjusting as needed. We are continuously monitoring logistics and are well positioned to continue executing and partnering closely with our customers to meet their needs.

In other COVID-19 news, it was reported this week that the Folding@home project now has access to a collective 2.4 ExaFLOPS of compute power through its distributed computing network.


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