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Holyoke computing center making its power available for free to virus researchers


Holyoke center making its power available for free to virus researchers

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke is making its vast computing power available for free to researchers working on COVID-19 projects. The nonprofit computing center, run and funded by a consortium of five Massachusetts universities, announced that it will give away access to its data storage and computational systems to other academic institutions and for-profit businesses for use in the fight against COVID-19. John Goodhue, the consortium’s executive director, said the computing center is typically running at 80 percent capacity, and usage has gone up during the pandemic as scientists do more work online and outside of their physical labs. Goodhue said the computing power at the Holyoke center could accelerate research projects, enabling some to be completed in a matter of days instead of weeks, for example. (The member universities include Boston University, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, and the UMass system.) The consortium has also started an online networking forum, to match engineers and software developers who may be sidelined during the pandemic with researchers who need help to fight the pandemic. — JON CHESTO


MassMutual offers free life coverage to frontline health care workers

MassMutual is providing free life insurance to frontline health care workers across Massachusetts and Connecticut during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Springfield-based insurer is giving three-year term policies of up to $25,000 through its HealthBridge program. Individuals need to upload proof of employment and fill out a short application, but the entire process is completed online. Applications will begin to be accepted by the end of April. Applicants between the ages of 18 and 50 are eligible to apply for $25,000 policies, to be paid out to designated beneficiaries if the policyholders die during the three-year period for any reason, and those between 51 and 60 are eligible for $10,000 policies. MassMutual said the value of the policies could total as much as $3 billion, for an estimated 140,000 health care workers. — JON CHESTO


Weld back at Mintz after ending presidential bid

Former governor Bill Weld is back at Mintz, rejoining the Boston law firm after taking a one-year leave to campaign for president. Weld is a partner at Mintz in its litigation practice, and a principal at ML Strategies, the firm’s lobbying affiliate. He was on unpaid leave from April 15, 2019, until April 1, and reimbursed Mintz for health insurance, other benefits, and occasional office use during that time. Weld ended his bid against President Trump for the Republican nomination in mid-March. — JON CHESTO



Mass. relief fund raises nearly $20m

The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund now has $19.5 million, as the Cummings Foundation becomes the latest contributor to the effort. The Woburn-based foundation announced a $500,000 grant on Tuesday to the relief fund, which was launched by Governor Charlie Baker and Lauren Baker a week ago with the help of the One8 Foundation. At the time of the launch, the founders had raised $13 million for the fund. The Relief Fund’s organizers are working with charities throughout the state to provide critical services during the pandemic. The Cummings Foundation has pledged $1 million in grants for COVID-19 efforts, including the latest gift. — JON CHESTO


Apple unveils its latest iPhone, with smaller screen and smaller price

In some ways, there couldn’t be a worse time than a pandemic to introduce a new gadget. But Apple unveiled its latest iPhone on Wednesday anyway, seizing on a time when many of us are sheltering indoors and glued to our devices. The new iPhone SE arrives with a lower price. At $399, it costs about 40 percent less than the regular $699 iPhone. The device has the design of an older generation of iPhones, with the same computing power as newer ones. That means the SE looks like an iPhone from 2014, with a smaller screen and a home button instead of a face scanner, but is as fast as the fancier iPhone 11 from 2019. — NEW YORK TIMES



Theaters may begin to reopen in late June

The United States may start going back to the movies in July, though the experience will probably look different, according to Cinemark Holdings Inc., the country’s third-largest theater chain. Cinemark, which closed all of its theaters in March to stem the spread of coronavirus, might start limited showings of older films in late June, executives said Wednesday on a call with investors. The company could widely reopen on July 1, with some restrictions for about three months, including empty seats between guests and limited hours. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


world’s richest man gets richer

The world’s richest person is getting richer, even in a pandemic, and perhaps because of it. With consumers stuck at home, they’re relying on Jeff Bezos’s Amazon.com Inc. more than ever. The retailer’s stock climbed 5.3 percent to a record Tuesday, lifting the founder’s net worth to $138.5 billion. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Trump lists executives he will consult about restarting the economy

President Trump said he’s tapping the country’s most prominent business executives, including Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Tim Cook of Apple, and Doug McMillon of Walmart to help revive the economy as the coronavirus pandemic shows signs of easing in some parts of the country. Trump’s list also includes a slate of executives from Wall Street: Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group Inc.; Brian Moynihan of Bank of America Corp.; David Solomon of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.; James Gorman of Morgan Stanley; Michael Corbat of Citigroup Inc.; and Charles Scharf of Wells Fargo & Co.; Darren Woods of Exxon Mobil Corp.; Satya Nadella of Microsoft Corp.; John Malone of Liberty Media Corp.; Fred Smith of FedEx Corp.; Oscar Munoz of United Airlines Inc.; Juan Luciano of Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.; David MacLennan of Cargill Inc.; Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin Corp.; Kathy Warden of Northrop Grumman Corp,. and James Quincey of Coca-Cola Co. He also named allies, including Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands Corp., but also Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com Inc., who has been a repeated target of the president’s vitriol. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Yes, we have no bananas . . .

Get your potassium while you can. The coronavirus pandemic may limit supplies of bananas in Asia. Growers in the Philippines, the world’s second-biggest exporter, said overseas shipments may drop by nearly 40 percent this year as lockdowns and social distancing measures curb output and transport. The country’s exports of the fruit are expected to plunge to about 2.5 million tons this year from 4 million last year, said Stephen Antig, executive director of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


US manufacturing collapsed in March

American industry collapsed in March as the pandemic wreaked havoc on the US economy. Manufacturing and overall industrial production posted the biggest declines since the United States demobilized after World War II. The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that manufacturing output dropped 6.3 percent last month, led by plunging production at auto factories that have entirely shut down. Overall, industrial production, which includes factories, utilities, and mines, plummeted 5.4 percent. The declines were the biggest since 1946 and far worse than what economists had expected. — ASSOCIATED PRESS