Progress, and Applications
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Sandia, Celera, Compaq Work on Next-Generation Computing
In January, Sandia National Laboratories and Celera Genomics, Inc., signed a 4-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to begin work on the next generation of computer software and hardware for computational biology and a full range of applications in the life sciences. Under contract to Sandia, Compaq Computer Corporation will design the new machine, which is expected to achieve 100 trillion operations per second (100 TeraOps). By sharing some computing technologies developed by Sandia, Celera and Compaq ultimately may reach the "petacruncher" level (1000 TeraOps).
This level of cooperation is necessary to meet the dramatic demands of emerging genomics and proteomics applications at affordable prices by bringing together the capabilities of three leaders in bioinformatics, high-performance computing, and massively parallel systems. Using both public and private resources, the multimillion-dollar arrangement first was suggested by Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) and guided to completion by Ari Patrinos, Associate Director of the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research.
J. Craig Venter, Celera's president and chief scientific officer, said, "Just 3 years ago, the computational needs of biology were thought to be minor and irrelevant to the computing industry. Today, biologists are setting the pace of development in the industry."
Patrinos noted, "The most fertile ground for scientific discovery lies at the interface of disciplines, with the most important at the junction of biology and information science."
To accomplish the consortium's goal of creating a prototype by 2004, Compaq and Sandia will collaborate on system hardware and software. Celera and Sandia will focus on advanced algorithms and new visualization technologies for analyzing the massive amounts of data generated by high-throughput machines. All three groups will contribute to integrating system hardware and software and on optimizing performance.
The alliance will use Compaq Alpha processors connected in a massively parallel configuration with extremely high bandwidth and low-latency mesh interconnects. Sandia currently operates the most powerful Linux-based supercomputer in existence and is home to ASCI Red, the first TeraOp supercomputer, one of the fastest in the world.
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Last modified: Wednesday, October 29, 2003
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