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{bio,medical} informatics

Wednesday, June 14, 2000

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Scientific Computing World Biotech and clusters dominate Mannheim Supercomputing Conference
"Biotechnology and cluster computing were the main focus of attention in the corridors and private conversations at the recent Mannheim Supercomputing Conference, even though US Defense Department machines again dominated the upper ranks of the most recent Top500 listing of the world's fastest supercomputers, published at the meeting. "

" the breaks between the formal sessions at the conference, many of the delegates appeared to be focusing more on the prospective growth in bioinformatics and the demands that this is creating for high performance computing. In an interview, Dr Martin Walker from Compaq reviewed the figures for the growth of the supercomputing market. At present, according to the International Data Corporation figures, the high performance computing market was worth about $5.6 billion in 1999 and is expected to grow by about 9 per cent annually through to 2003. However, bioinformatics may change all that, he noted. The total R&D budget of the pharmaceutical industry is about $40 billion annually and so if some 10 per cent of it were to go on IT, this would provide $4bn for computing, especially high performance computing applications. Thus bioinformatics could grow, relatively quickly, from a minor component of the market to a 40 per cent share. 'This is a phase transition,' he commented. "
redux [06.03.00]
Washinton Post IBM to Put Genetics on Fast Track
"Here is the plan: IBM scientists intend to spend five years building the fastest computer in the world, 500 times faster than anything in existence today. It will suck down every spare watt of electricity and throw off so much heat that engineers have bought a gas turbine the size of a jet engine to cool it.

The machine, dubbed Blue Gene, will be turned loose on a single problem. The computer will try to model the way a human protein folds into a particular shape that gives it unique biological properties. Obscure as it may sound, that kind of puzzle is at the heart of mankind's efforts to understand the nature of consciousness, the origins of sex, the causes of disease and many other mysteries."

redux [03.29.00]
LinuxWorld Farming, Linux-Style
"Gone are the days when any pioneer with a bit of hardware, hard code, and hard work could run a small Linux farm and compete with the best plantations. The smart folks at biotech firm Incyte Genomics of Palo Alto, Calif., have just invented agribusiness. You remember everything you ever tried to tell your boss or colleagues about Linux's stability, price performance, and reliability? Well, Incyte has put those ideas to the test and come up grinning like a bandit.

To map the human genome, Incyte runs the world's largest commercial Linux farm, with more than 2,000 Linux processors chomping away on tens of millions of jobs per day. In its datacenter, laid out like a temple in the middle of Incyte's corporate headquarters, space costs a king's ransom -- but the company has come up with clever ways to address that problem..."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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