NEC installs vector supercomputer at the Technical University of Dresden for biological process modelling

Dresden 03 December 2003The Centre for High-Performance Computing (ZHR) at the Technical University of Dresden and NEC are collaborating on the testing and provisioning of bioinformatics software for modelling biological processes on vector supercomputers. The research team in Dresden plans to use NEC's high performance computers to accelerate the process of decoding the interaction between genes and proteins in living systems. The disciplines of biology and materials science, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical technology enterprises, especially those located at the Biotechnology Centre in Dresden, will particularly profit from the knowledge transfer from the Dresden-based institute.


Bioscience software applications are both data and computationally intensive: they require an extremely fast supercomputer in order to compare the increasingly complex biological models with observations of real biological processes in only a few days. The team, which is headed by Professor Wolfgang E. Nagel, Professor for Computer Architecture at the Technical University of Dresden and Director of the Centre for High-Performance Computing, will investigate the benefits of software applications for clusters of NEC vector processors and promote their availability.

A new supercomputer was installed at the Technical University of Dresden in September within the scope of the agreement. The SX-6i supercomputer delivers up to 8 billion results per second with only one processor and is able to process up to 32 GigaBytes of data per second at the same time. The NEC vector computer is especially suitable for processing complex bioinformatics relationships due to the high data bandwidth. This enables the computation of a model in just a few days, where other computers would require months.

The Centre for High-Performance Computing (ZHR) is a central scientific institute at the Technical University of Dresden. As an interfaculty and interdisciplinary centre, the ZHR processes research and teaching projects for the other university faculties. It also provides advice and support to users of high performance computers at the university, the research institutes in the region and industrial partners.

"The collaboration with NEC provides Dresden's bioscientific community with fast-track access to state-of-the-art methods and technology. We are delighted to have found a strong partner in NEC HPCE for the optimisation and porting of bioinformatics software on vector computers", stated Professor Wolfgang E. Nagel.

The NEC supercomputers are also used in other data and computationally intensive fields of knowledge, such as climate research and meteorology. The largest cluster of NEC vector processors and most powerful computer in the world is the "Earth Simulator" in Yokohama, Japan.

"NEC works closely with researchers around the world to develop innovative approaches in the field of research. It supports the further development of leading research projects in Europe at its own software development centre in Stuttgart. NEC's high performance vector computers will play a pioneering role in the field of bioinformatics", stated Dr. Jörg Stadler, Marketing Manager of NEC HPCE.

NEC has distributed high performance computing systems in Europe since 1987 and provides wide-ranging support services and system integration. NEC's product portfolio includes SX series supercomputers, TX series high performance servers and NEC's trusted Linux clusters, which are mainly used for scientific and technical computing tasks in industry and research.

NEC High Performance Computing Europe (HPCE) was founded in February 2003, formerly known as NEC European Supercomputer Systems, established in 1989. The European headquarter is in Düsseldorf, with branch offices located in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Lugano and Milan. NEC's competence centre for Linux technology and third party application tuning and support has its offices in Stuttgart.

Leslie Versweyveld

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