Japanese scientific research institute RIKEN is developing the world’s top supercomputer with the support of Fujitsu. The computer has been named as Fugaku. It is expected to be fully operational soon; however, it is already being used by researchers in Japan for several matters, one of which is the country’s war against COVID-19.
Usage of Fugaku
The supercomputer exhibited that humidity can have a substantial effect on the dispersion of virus particles, highlighting the amplified coronavirus contagion risks in dry, indoor conditions during winter months.
Director at RIKEN Center for Computational Science, Satoshi Matsuoka said, “We anticipate Fugaku to be used for a wide variety of applications, including those of high concern in the general public around medical and pharmaceuticals, disaster and environmental, energy and production also industries from materials to general manufacturing.”
“But one very important area there is how we fight against COVID-19 and we have quickly stood up this program, COVID-19 program, even as Fugaku was being built, and, in fact, we did this in less than one month.”
The finding explains that the utilization of humidifiers might help curb the infections during scenarios when window ventilation is not possible, according to a study rolled out on Tuesday by research giant Riken and Kobe University.
The researchers utilized the Fugaku supercomputer to generate a simulation regarding the emission and flow of virus-like particles from infected people in various types of indoor environments.
Air humidity of less than 30% led to more than double the amount of aerosolized particles when compared to humidity levels of 60% or higher, the model showed.
“Face Shields are less Effective”
The study also pointed to a revelation that clear face shields are not as effective as masks in preventing the transmission of aerosols. Other findings exhibited that diners are at an increased risk from people to their side compared to across the table, and the number of singers in choruses should be controlled and appropriate space should be present between them.
There has been a growing accord between health experts that the COVID-19 virus can transmit through the air. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines this month to claim that the coronavirus can remain in the air for hours.
The Riken research team led by Makoto Tsubokura has in past utilized the Fugaku supercomputer to simulate contagion conditions in trains, workspaces, and classrooms.
Notably, the simulations exhibited that opening windows on commuter trains can boost the ventilation by two to three times, decreasing the concentration of ambient microbes.
“People’s blind fear or unfounded confidence against the infection of COVID-19 is simply because it is invisible,” Tsubokura said.
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