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Pentagon Supercomputers Puzzle Out How to Safely Airlift COVID-19 Patients

The Defense Department is putting its High-Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) to use in the COVID-19 pandemic, using the supercomputing capabilities and computation science expertise to make critical decisions regarding the virus. HPCMP is now supporting the efforts of scientists and researchers in several areas, including airlifting COVID-19 patients, vaccine development, emergency hospital treatment facilities, and other needs.

HPCMP provides more than 7 billion computer core hours per year to the Pentagon to support their research and development as well as testing military systems and platforms. However, the program is shifting its focus to the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlifting patients to hospitals has presented a new risk to first responders, as there is a risk of the virus transmitting through airflows. Officials used HPCMP’s resources to conduct a droplets analysis that simulates movement inside a military aircraft to assess what the threat level for airflow transmission is.

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