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{bio,medical} informatics

Friday, July 13, 2001

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find related articles. powered by google. Wired Magazine Gene Machine

"Ambuj Goyal, IBM Research's general manager for software, solutions, and strategy, was more ambitious than that. Why not build a machine to model molecular dynamics using general-purpose chips rather than specialized ones? That way you'd produce a prototype for a whole new family of supercomputers. Not only would it be great technology development, it would be great marketing, too. Whereas the Department of Energy has the greatest interest in top-end supercomputing - with its need to understand how nuclear weapons work - focusing on the life sciences rather than the death sciences could make supercomputing more widely appealing. What's more, a biology program would be a way of telling one of the newest markets for big iron - the post-genome biotech world - that IBM took its interests seriously. "We believe that the life sciences are going to be a rapidly growing area," says Blue Gene project manager Bill Pulleyblank, "a huge growth area for IBM."

find related articles. powered by google. Scientific American The Do-It-Yourself Supercomputer

"Our solution was to construct a computing cluster using obsolete PCs that ORNL would have otherwise discarded. Dubbed the Stone SouperComputer because it was built essentially at no cost, our cluster of PCs was powerful enough to produce ecoregion maps of unprecedented detail. Other research groups have devised even more capable clusters that rival the performance of the world's best supercomputers at a mere fraction of their cost. This advantageous price-to-performance ratio has already attracted the attention of some corporations, which plan to use the clusters for such complex tasks as deciphering the human genome. In fact, the cluster concept promises to revolutionize the computing field by offering tremendous processing power to any research group, school or business that wants it."

"Above all, the Beowulf concept is an empowering force. It wrests high-level computing away from the privileged few and makes low-cost parallel-processing systems available to those with modest resources. Research groups, high schools, colleges or small businesses can build or buy their own Beowulf clusters, realizing the promise of a supercomputer in every basement. Should you decide to join the parallel-processing proletariat, please contact us through our Web site ( and tell us about your Beowulf-building experiences."

[ 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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