A SCOTS tech firm has joined the quest to help find a vaccine for coronavirus by giving US researchers access to thousands of pounds’ worth of its own computer equipment.

Glasgow-based Ground Level Up specialises in the creation of visual content, data gathering, and 3D mapping using drones and as such uses high-end hardware for its work.

However, its staff are working from home during the virus lockdown, and the firm has donated the use of its two 96 terabyte servers, which are currently sitting idle, to researchers at Stanford Medical School in California.

Company boss Carrick McLelland, who is amongst those working from home, said he and his business partner, Alistair Snowie, started researching how they could put the powerful servers to good use during what could be a potentially lengthy period of self-isolation.

READ MORE: Scots scientist says a million coronavirus vaccines will be ready by end of 2020

He discovered Folding@home, a project that allows researchers to remotely use systems that have downloaded their software to carry out studies requiring huge amounts of computer power – including protein folding and other molecular dynamics. By simulating what are called protein dynamics, it is hoped more rapid progress will be made in combatting the coronavirus.

McLelland said he believed not many firms know about projects such as Folding@home, and has urged other digital and professional editing companies throughout Glasgow and the rest of Scotland to follow suit.

The National: Two 96 terabyte servers provide the same memory as around 400 laptopsTwo 96 terabyte servers provide the same memory as around 400 laptops

He said many would be able to donate the use of their storage servers, especially if they are lying unused while their staff work on their own computers at home.

McLelland said: “These servers have huge processing power – multiple people are able to use them to download, edit, and render digital material at the same time.

“I think it’s not only vital to keep massively powerful pieces of equipment like this in use, but also to use them in the fight against coronavirus. At the moment, I can’t think of a more important purpose for them than that.”

READ MORE: Expect a directive from the EU requiring coherent planning

Ground Level Up has four permanent staff involved in work that sees them create visual content for businesses on social media as well as using drones for filming, data gathering and 3D mapping in some of the world’s most inaccessible areas.

Their work has been hit by the pandemic as countries close their borders and businesses cut costs. But McLelland said his firm has the resources to keep everyone employed – and he added that he and his staff are ready to help any organisations, be it the NHS, the Scottish Government, or universities and colleges, make information videos should they be urgently needed.

He added: “Naturally, we are still a business, and need to make ends meet, but we can offer highly-accessible opportunities to anyone who needs information videos produced with same-day turnaround.”