Allan and the pandemic: making Covid-19 research possible

ABN AMRO has vast computing power at its disposal; what can it do to make a positive contribution during the coronavirus crisis? Faced with that question, Allan Ventura da Silva (33) started investigating the possibilities.

ABN AMRO donates 80% of total computing power to COVID-19 researchers

As Technical Innovator at ABN AMRO, Allan oversees innovation processes within the bank. He also works for the Dataistic Center, an ultramodern data laboratory set up by ABN AMRO and Dell Technologies. In recent weeks, they have been donating 80 percent of their total computing power to Folding@home, a digital platform that Covid-19 researchers worldwide are using for extremely complicated calculations – calculations that will potentially help them to better understand the coronavirus and identify solutions.

Contributing to science

“When you think of a bank, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t a data laboratory designed specifically for scientific research,” Allan admits. “Still, the Dataistic Center is a perfect extension of what we do: universities, hospitals and non-profit organisations can use the high-tech facilities, free of charge, to research data about the problems facing society. Thanks to those partnerships, we can exchange all manner of useful information relating to data science, and we can help to create a healthier and more stable society.

“So the partnership with Folding@home was a perfect match,” Allan explains. “They need as much computing power as possible for vital scientific research, and we have large numbers of processors that we can free up. That’s something that you don’t have to think about twice, particularly now. Ever since we set up the interface, we’ve seen on our dashboards that every bit of the shared computing power is being used to fight the coronavirus.”

ABN AMRO helps to fight the coronavirus

“Everyone is immediately thrilled when I explain about our Dataistic Center and the computing power initiative,” Allan continues. “Most people don’t know that international coronavirus research involves all kinds of complicated calculations, and they’re pleasantly surprised to find out that a bank is helping in the fight against the pandemic in this way.” 

Free access to expertise and hardware for Covid-19 researchers

“Our entire team is made up of people who set aside time on top of their regular jobs, because they believe in the project and want to be part of it.” Allan becomes excited. “And I think it’s wonderful that ABN AMRO and Dell have set up the Dataistic Center to give coronavirus researchers free access to expertise and hardware for data experiments. It involves us in all kinds of projects that can have a real and positive impact on society. Who else can say that they work for a bank, and are making a meaningful contribution to research into childhood cancer and artificial intelligence, for example, and Covid-19?”

Find out more about the Dataistic Center.

Find out more about the work of Folding@home.

View more initiatives from colleagues in corona times.