University of Tokyo deploys Japan's largest genome analysis system based on Sun solution

Tokyo 22 January 2003The Human Genome Center (HGC), a branch of the Institute of Medical Science of the University of Tokyo, has deployed Sun Fire 15K servers as the basis of its human genome analysis system. Powered by Sun's high-end 64-bit servers, the system went fully operational on January 1, 2003. The University of Tokyo's genome analysis system is the second largest Sun Fire 15K server supercluster in the world.


HGC has deployed eight Sun Fire 15K servers and two Sun Fire 6800 servers with a total of 788 UltraSPARC III processors and approximately 1,7 TB of memory, making it one of the largest human genome analysis systems in Japan. HGC adopted this new system to study and develop various methods for analysing genomic information, while substantially expanding its database capacity and data analysis services for genome researchers in Japan and abroad.

Since genomic research involves enormous databases, calculations are often very time-consuming. Also, as bioinformatics is becoming increasingly popular and the scope of research is expanding, HGC anticipates an increase in the number of heavy users of its services. For these reasons, HGC decided to switch to a new high-performance computing system.

"Sun's commitment to working with higher education institutions around the world, especially in the area of computational biology has yielded tremendous results", stated Kim Jones, vice president of Education and Research, Sun Microsystems. "Sun's work with universities, such as the University of Tokyo exemplifies the advantages of teaming with a proven hardware and software expert in the field of high performance computing."

Genome analysis requires superior processor performance, huge memory capacity, and high-speed parallel database search functions. The Sun Fire 15K server is ideal for this type of application because each server supports up to 106 processors and 576 GB of memory . HGC selected the Sun Fire 15K server, recognising its industry-leading scalability and outstanding internal bus performance.

"HGC, along with numerous other world-class research institutions, recognises Sun's enterprise servers as the ideal platform for running complex database applications, such as genome analysis", stated Clark Masters, executive vice president, Sun Microsystems. "With superior processor performance and huge memory capacity, the Sun Fire 15K server, in particular, offers benefits that competing vendors clearly cannot match."

The newly introduced system will be central to the genome analysis works at HGC, which is one of the major genome research institutions in Japan. The system is expected to help the progress of society by providing broad-ranging tools for advanced genome analysis, including large-scale database servers such as for instance a nucleic/amino acid sequence database, and simulation servers.

Sun is a provider of open network computing solutions to colleges and universities around the world, powering academic, research and high performance computing systems, campus administration, digital libraries, and student instruction systems. In addition, Sun is committed to connecting the world's students to the Internet, beginning with primary and secondary schools and extending to all levels of higher education. More news on Sun is available in the VMW January 2003 article Sun selects Swiss Federal Institute of Technology as a Center of Excellence in biomedical research.

Leslie Versweyveld

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