FABI hosted a joint webinar with the Southern African Society for Systematic Biology (SASSB) on Thursday 2 March by Dr Dan Jacobson, Chief scientist for computational systems biology at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA, entitled “Crises abound: Health, climate, energy, food, pandemics... How supercomputing, AI, and large-scale systems biology can help address the major challenges we are facing. His research team focuses on the development and subsequent application of mathematical, statistical and computational methods to biological datasets in order to yield new insights into complex biological systems. The webinar provided fascinating insight on the use of supercomputing and artificial intelligence to analyse huge data sets such as human disease systems biology and global climate type and viral models for zoonosis. 

Welcoming him, Prof. Zander Myburg pointed out that Dan’s research group is also the first to break the Exascale barrier and to have done it for biology. At present, this (2.36 Exaops) calculation is the fastest scientific calculation ever done anywhere in the world. and led to them winning the 2018 Gordon Bell Prize - the first ever for Systems Biology.