University at Buffalo to use IBM supercomputer and storage system for advanced bioinformatics and genomic research

Armonk 25 March 2004The University at Buffalo (UB) Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics at the State University of New York, will use IBM technologies and research expertise to study the structure and behaviour of human proteins. The outcome of this research could lead to more targeted drugs to treat diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, AIDS and multiple sclerosis.


The new IBM system represents the next-generation solution to meet the growing computational and storage needs of the Center of Excellence that were originally provided by a cluster of Dell servers and EMC storage systems. To help the centre achieve its research goals, IBM researchers will collaborate with the centre scientists and provide algorithms for discovering patterns and correlations among protein data.

The UB Center of Excellence merges high-end technology, including supercomputing and visualization, with expertise in such areas as genomics, proteomics, bioimaging and pharmaceutical sciences, to enable major contributions in science and health care. An emerging discipline, bioinformatics uses the power of supercomputers to interpret data in the biological sciences at the molecular level.

"The switch to IBM technology will be more than three times faster than our current cluster, shaving critical time off achieving tangible results in our research", stated Dr. Jeffrey Skolnick, director of the Center. "The new IBM supercomputer will deliver the kind of performance we are looking for to make significant strides in protein structure and function prediction. The greatly improved manageability and simplified infrastructure allows us to focus on generating results to find the causes of deadly diseases and develop new drugs to treat them."

"IBM has worked closely with the University at Buffalo to develop a powerful, state of the art clustered supercomputing solution that would meet their needs and help the Center of Excellence reach the goal to become one of the world's best bioinformatics centres", stated Dave Turek, vice president of Deep Computing, IBM. "The unmatched power and scalability of the BladeCenter supercomputer combined with IBM storage servers will enable the university to tackle many important life science endeavours."

The new supercomputer, capable of a peak performance of more than 1,32 TeraFlops, will consist of a cluster of 266 IBM eServer BladeCenter HS20 systems running Red Hat Advance Server 2.1 Linux, each with two 2,8 GHz Intel Xeon processors and 1,0 GB of memory. Seven IBM xSeries 345 Intel processor-based servers connect to 5 terabytes (TB) of IBM TotalStorage FAStT700 storage servers to house large volumes of biological and research data. The supercomputer forms the basis of the IBM eServer Cluster 1350, a pre-packaged and tested supercluster that is ultra-dense and incredibly easy to manage.

The University at Buffalo (UB) is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB's more than 27.000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programmes. The university offers the only degrees in law, pharmacy and architecture in the SUNY system, and is the home of the only comprehensive public school of engineering in New York State.

Leslie Versweyveld

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