Have you ever seen a computer so powerful? More potent than the one you Netflix and chill with, by powerful, I mean 4,232 times the average computer. It is faster than Grain Bolt and is found on Torrolavega Street, on the fifth floor of La Liga Headquarters in the Northeast side of the city. This building can be spotted easily since it towers over the road that heads right out of Madrid and toward the airport, even though this building is virtually empty, and stands alone, the computer has not stopped working.
“In these impossible times, every hand is needed– La Liga’s computer from tracking illegal games to now tracking the disease.”
It is designed to prevent you from watching illegal streams of games that you shouldn’t be watching. This supercomputer is now used to boost the fight against the coronavirus. Over a month since Eibar played Real Sociedad, there had not been a game behind closed doors, and no one can tell when football will be back in action.
There has been a whole lot of initiatives that have come up for the sport during this lockdown period, such as online concerts and some silly stuff, fundraising, and FIFA 20 tournaments to kill time. Some players have also taken it upon themselves to check up on their club’s oldest members by calling them on the phone while others provide food. There’s Saul Niguez’s plan to help small businesses stand again and Leganes’ daily workouts. Then there is La Liga’s supercomputer headed for the lion’s den, “It’s about the size of a normal computer, but its capacity is more than 4,000 times the size. The processing speed is huge,” says Emilio Fernandez del Castillo, the head of technological content protection at La Liga and person responsible for overseeing the computer. “It is built to detect and prevent piracy: We’re searching for our content Monday to Sunday all over the world, and this is the tool that enables us to find it. Imagine how big it has to be to do that. Other systems, other computers, simply wouldn’t be able to.”
The folding@home platform
The supercomputer in La Liga Headquarters, Madrid, can do that and so much more, hence some of its processing capacity was connected to the folding@home platform. This is a project where people come forward to run computer simulations that are mainly focused on medical researchers around viruses and proteins. The league is lending its capacity, which indirectly means that everything runs through them. The supercomputer is so much more powerful because it is like the combination of thousands of average computers working together to fight the coronavirus, and there’s a relationship since its la Liga.
If there are hundreds of thousands of average home computers, you can picture the supercomputer as 4000 of them working together at a go. The super computer’s processing speed is off the charts, “We have engineers, IT experts, people who know the systems so well and they thought: ‘Look, we can hand this over, we haven’t got games every day — Barcelona aren’t on every day,'” Emilio says. “So, we ‘loan’ some of our ‘space’ for that research. We were helping investigations into cancer. But then, when all this happened, attention shifted, and we handed it over to fight against coronavirus.”
Now that everything we can lay our hands on is channeled towards recovery in the absence of games and goals, more processing speed can be focused to help in the investigation. In the past month, an incredible number of people, more than 70,000, all around the world are working together in the grid. “La Liga contacted us and wanted to learn more about our work: The technical department of La Liga found folding@home and joined our grid, installing our client on their supercomputer in Madrid,” according to Associate professor in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics department at the Washington University school of medicine, St. Louis.
That improves the chances of successfully understanding and modeling the coronavirus. Bowman stated that “In brief, we’re trying to understand how all the moving parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’ proteins contribute to their function, identify new therapeutic opportunities based on this insight, design new therapeutics and engage with experimental collaborators to test them,”
The programmer’s model is designed to imitate the activity of coronavirus proteins, looking for any possible way to attack the virus and point out ideas that suggest a suitable and effective treatment for the virus.