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Smart platform for predicting COVID-19 healthcare system demands

An EU-funded project has developed an intelligent data transfer platform that helps researchers predict the demand for intensive care units (ICUs) during the coronavirus pandemic.

Digital Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting pressure on global healthcare systems that are struggling to anticipate how many more ICUs they will need as the disease continues to spread. An intelligent data transfer platform has now been developed with the support of the EU-funded EXCELLERAT project to help predict the demand for ICUs in the course of the pandemic. Through this platform, the EXCELLERAT team aims to provide realistic forecasts of future demands by simulating the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections and the need for ICUs. The intelligent data transfer platform was built to support Germany’s Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) and came into being through the efforts of two of the project’s partners: SSC-Services and the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS). HLRS is providing the computing power needed for the simulation calculations through its new supercomputer Hawk, while SSC-Services has developed the platform enabling the exchange and transfer of data.

Highly automated approach for easy access

The platform is making it possible for the BiB to upload data, start simulations and download results. Its highly automated approach makes it easy even for inexperienced users to access high-performance computing (HPC) resources. “Nowadays, organisations face various issues while dealing with HPC calculations, HPC in general or even the access to HPC resources,” commented Janik Schüssler of SSC-Services in a press release posted on the EXCELLERAT website. “In many cases, calculations are too complex and users do not have the required know-how with HPC technologies. This is the challenge that SSC has taken on. The BiB’s researchers had to access HLRS’s Hawk in a very complex way. With the help of our new platform, they can easily access Hawk from anywhere and run their simulations remotely.” According to a news item posted on the SSC-Services website, the project team is currently testing the platform with different pilot partners and using their feedback to improve the platform. “In this context, the cooperation with the BIB was established, which is of great importance and creates value for both sides due to the current situation,” stated Schüssler in the news item. The goal of EXCELLERAT (The European Centre of Excellence for Engineering Applications) is to help the European engineering industry advance towards exascale technologies and to create a single entry point to services and knowledge for all stakeholders. “This platform is part of EXCELLERAT’s overall strategy and tools development, which not only addresses the simulation part of engineering workflows, but provides users the necessary means to optimise their work,” commented Bastian Koller of HLRS in the EXCELLERAT press release. “Extending the applicability of this platform to further use cases outside of the engineering domain is a huge benefit and increases the impact of the work performed in EXCELLERAT.” For more information, please see: EXCELLERAT project website

Keywords

EXCELLERAT, COVID-19, coronavirus, high-performance computing, HPC, data, platform

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