NuTec Sciences and IBM to Build Largest Commercial Supercomputer

IBM and NuTec Sciences Inc. are building the world's largest commercial supercomputer, which NuTec's Life Sciences Division will use to investigate how genes interact in the human body to cause life-threatening diseases. The system's computational power will allow pharmaceutical and biotechnology researchers to study gene combinations behind complex and often fatal diseases like diabetes, heart conditions and strokes, as well as prostate and breast cancers.

When completed, the 7.5-teraflop computing cluster will rank among the top 10 of the world's 500 largest supercomputers -- with a processing capacity of 7 1/2 trillion calculations per second -- making it the fastest system installed outside a government agency.

The supercomputing cluster will consist of 1,250 IBM eServer p640 devices running IBM's DB2 Universal Database, supported by 2.5 terabytes of memory, 50 terabytes of online disk storage and a high-bandwidth networking infrastructureIBM software for Web application serving, information portals and data integration will augment the system. This will allow NuTec Sciences to manage, mine and integrate genetic data from a wide variety of sources, and share this information via the Internet with the global life sciences community.

In collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NuTec Sciences will use the new IBM system to distribute NIH-patented algorithms for analyzing disease-causing gene combinations. These algorithms can help researchers enroll the right patients in clinical trials and predict outcomes, enabling drug discovery and targeted therapies to be developed in less time and at a lower cost.

"The ability to scan thousands of genes at one time has been of great value, particularly in trying to deduce the critical differences in gene expression between a normal and a diseased cell," said Dr. Andy Baxevanis, Director of Computational Genomics at the National Human Genome Research Institute. "By developing new software aimed at detecting and understanding these differences, we will be able to make exciting biological discoveries and find new ways to apply these technologies to patient care."

NuTec Sciences will lease time on the IBM system to academic research centers, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and provide enhanced computational capabilities for smaller biotech startups.

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