University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA) uses Atos supercomputer to accelerate research against COVID-19

Paris, June 17, 2020

Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, today announces that the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)’s supercomputer, named ROMEO, is now being used to search for new molecules capable of neutralizing the virus that causes COVID-19. The supercomputer is based on Atos’ BullSequana architecture.

ROMEO is being used as part of the HT-Covid program, initiated by Reims Molecular Chemistry Institute (ICMR), joint research unit URCA/CNRS, and selected by the French National Research Agency (ANR) to participate in the fight against Covid-19. Set up in just one week, this large-scale multi-disciplinary virtual screening project aims to identify, over the next 18 months, molecules that could inhibit the SARS CoV-2 virus.

ROMEO’s computing power enables researchers working on this project to test thousands of molecules per day. Based on the 3D structure of the molecule and the target protein, ROMEO is able to simulate at high-speed the action that the molecule could have on the protein, and thereby identify which molecules would be able to bind to the target protein. These potential ‘candidates’ will then be synthesized, purified and tested under ‘real conditions’.

With ROMEO, GENCI's supercomputer installed at CINES (National Computer Center for Higher Education) and that of the IN2P3 Computing Centre of the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research), researchers have already succeeded in screening virtually more than 1.5 billion molecules.

Guillaume Gellé President of URCA, said: “We’re proud to be part of this research project to help support the global fight against COVID-19. With ROMEO’s vast computing power researchers have already been able to test between 200,000 and 300,000 molecules. We hope that these results coupled with the virus knowledge of biologists and physicians will lead to the development of a treatment that will slow the spread of the epidemic.”

Helene Bringer, Director Big Data & HPC at Atos in France, added: “These supercomputers combined have tens of thousands of processors that work together to perform complex calculations and process and analyze large amounts of data using AI algorithms. We’re proud that our BullSequana supercomputer, ROMEO,can contribute to the discovery of a cure for this pandemic by saving precious time for researchers and scientists.”

The HT-Covid project is funded by the (CNRS) and the Grand Est (departmental region in the east of France).


About Atos

Atos is a global leader in digital transformation with 110,000 employees in 73 countries and annual revenue of € 12 billion. European number one in Cloud, Cybersecurity and High-Performance Computing, the Group provides end-to-end Orchestrated Hybrid Cloud, Big Data, Business Applications and Digital Workplace solutions. The Group is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic & Paralympic Games and operates under the brands Atos, Atos|Syntel, and Unify. Atos is a SE (Societas Europaea), listed on the CAC40 Paris stock index.

The purpose of Atos is to help design the future of the information space. Its expertise and services support the development of knowledge, education and research in a multicultural approach and contribute to the development of scientific and technological excellence. Across the world, the Group enables its customers and employees, and members of societies at large to live, work and develop sustainably, in a safe and secure information space.

Press contact:

Laura Fau | | +33 6 73 64 04 18 | @laurajanefau

About URCA

The University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne is developing a scientific project around 4 major centres with strong scientific expertise. A multidisciplinary centre with an international dimension in agro-sciences, environment, biotechnologies and bio-economy, taking into account, in a region with a strong agricultural and wine-producing economy, the agriculture of the future; a Health centre, offering scientific niches of excellence and a rich and varied range of medical and paramedical training; a digital and engineering sciences centre focusing on high-performance computing and industry 4. 0 industry, materials and technological transformations; and a Human and Social Sciences cluster with, in particular, the development of a new focus on the performing arts federated by the creation of a Maison des Sciences Humaines. It offers an attractive multidisciplinary training offer that meets current and future socio-economic needs and aims to bring students to the highest level of education.

The University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne in figures: 27,500 students, 2,500 staff, 5th largest employer in Champagne-Ardenne, 30 research laboratories, 14 components, more than 120 diplomas. - @universitereims


Press Contact:

Marie Odette Victor +33 6 75 65 00 32

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