VR startup Nanome joins the effort to fight COVID-19
Called Exscalate4Cov (E4C), the public-private consortium boasts some of the most cutting-edge and cost-effective supercomputing capabilities in the world: it has a library of 500bn molecules and a processing power of 3mn molecules per second.
E4C’s purpose is to rapidly screen the chemicals in its library for ones which have an effect on the SARS-COV-2 species of coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Costing €3mn in emergency funding, the project has so far yielded tests on 9,000 drugs, of which 100 has demonstrated encouraging early results.
"Exscalate is the only platform capable of exascale-ready virtual screening of billions of molecules on multiple targets in a few hours," said Silvano Coletti, Innovation Manager and Managing Director of Chelonia Applied Science, a participant in the consortium.
"Coupling this capability with Nanome software capabilities will enable us to rapidly identify drugs for immediate use as treatments and novel pan-coronavirus inhibitors that could address future emergencies."
The US helps the EU
Of the 18 institutions currently onboard with E4C, Nanome represents the first US-based company to join the effort.
Founded in 2015, the company is on a mission to transform how the scientific community engages with its specialities via virtual reality (VR). Able to create a simulated world which allows users to experiment in previously unthought-of ways, Nanome hopes to be a force for community, collaboration and open-access data sharing.
Currently, the company offers three products:
- Nanome: A tool which allows research and scientific staff to solve problems in real-time, Nanome facilitates atomic, molecular and protein visualisation and can be integrated into pre-existing research workflows.
- CalcFlow: Providing a new way of experiencing vector calculus, CalcFlow provides VR modelling, 3D graphs and editable parameters to enable a unique mathematical problem-solving environment.
- Matryx: Striving to break down what it perceives as barriers to open collaboration, Matryx is a decentralised platform that allows the free exchange of ideas and research and speed up development.
“At Nanome, we see computers as an extension of our consciousness that allows us to do things much more efficiently,” said Keita Funakawa, COO, in a blog post.
“As Steve Jobs put it: ‘A computer is the most remarkable tool we’ve come up with. It’s the equivalent to the bicycle for our minds.’”
The company’s bona fide credentials as an exceptional tech innovator were displayed when Frances Arnold, 2018 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, toured a cytochrome P450 protein using Nanome’s VR.
Clearly impressed by the possibilities, Arnold commented “I’m dying to show this to some of my students to see if it would give them ideas.
“We stare at structures all day and try to come up with residues that would be interesting to mutate. I would love to see if they think this would help them.”
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.