Harvard/Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics uses HP solutions to speed biomedical analysis and collaboration among researchers

Boston 15 February 2005HP is enabling faster, more collaborative biomedical research for the Harvard Medical School - Partners HealthCare Center for Genetics and Genomics (HPCGG), one of the United States' premier biomedical research organisations, with the delivery of a high-performance HP server cluster based on Linux. HP will develop a computational infrastructure capable of facilitating the use of genetic, genomic and proteomic technologies in both research and clinical medicine.


The announcement is part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar sponsorship agreement that began in September 2003, in which HP will provide solutions, services and research collaboration to support Partners' efforts to accelerate clinical genomics and advance the concept of individualized medicine.

HPCGG, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a joint enterprise between Harvard Medical School and Partners HealthCare dedicated to accelerating the realization of personalized medicine by discovering and integrating genetic knowledge into the health care system.

HP has installed a 64-node HP Cluster Platform 4000 using its Linux-based XC System Software as an integral part of the Partners Research Grid, a collaborative project between HP and Partners designed to facilitate collaboration among researchers and clinicians at member institutions. The Partners Research Grid, using the breadth of HP's Linux portfolio, delivers customers a competitive edge by helping them to dynamically manage their IT resources, become more agile and, at the same time, lowering their overall IT cost: key elements of HP's Adaptive Enterprise strategy.

HP's secure, flexible and reliable open source and Linux solutions with support services enable researchers at these institutions to share resources and data for analysis in the areas of proteomics and genomics as well as to effectively utilize the computing and storage resources and databases that are distributed across these institutions.

"With this system, analysis that used to take a month to run will only take days", stated Isaac Kohane, M.D., Ph.D., HPCGG director of bioinformatics and principal investigator of the I2B2 National Center for Biomedical Computing. "It opens up an exciting new world of opportunities for collaborative health care research here in the Boston area."

Partners' new system will enable the consolidation of computational resources for the research community. The 64-node system provides the foundation for shared research computing environment, which provides the power for the larger computational challenges and reduces management costs for the Partners research community. The centralized solution also gives smaller research centres the added advantage of increased computational power in the shared environment.

The cluster will be managed by HP XC System Software, integrating Linux, Platform Computing's LSF software, HP's message passing interface (MPI), as well as open source components such as Systemimager, SLURM and Nagios into a single, supported environment. The Cluster Platform 4000 deployed by Partners uses HP ProLiant DL145 and DL585 nodes, which boast two AMD Opteron 2,2 gigahertz processors and 4 gigabytes of memory per node, and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. The XC software and HP Cluster Platform are part of HP's Unified Cluster Portfolio, announced last year at SC2004.

"Partners' new HP Cluster Platform will be a faster, more reliable and more stable environment for the important research that takes place at its institutions", stated Winston Prather, vice president and general manager, High Performance Computing Division, HP. "HP's work in helping Partners to more effectively manage clinical innovation is extremely rewarding. Providing tools for its researchers to access and process critical information will benefit all of us."

Partners HealthCare was founded in 1994 by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Partners is an integrated health care delivery system that offers patients throughout the region a continuum of co-ordinated, high-quality care. The system includes primary care and speciality physicians, community hospitals, the two founding academic medical centres, speciality facilities, community health centres, home-based services and other health-related entities. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organisation.

HPCGG combines world-class scientific talent with access to a population of more than 2 million patients and their physicians, providing a continuum of resources and expertise to rapidly translate scientific discoveries into diagnoses and treatments that benefit patients. Through its educational programmes at Harvard Medical School and other academic institutions, the centre has created the infrastructure to educate the medical profession on personalized medicine approaches. The centre also operates full-service clinics for patients with known or suspected genetic conditions, as well as core facilities and services for genetic study design, DNA sequencing, genotyping, proteomics, bioinformatics and microarrays.

HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, global services, business and home computing, and imaging and printing. For the four fiscal quarters ended October 31, 2004, HP revenue totaled $79,9 billion. More company news is available in the VMW issue's article Banner Health relies on HP and Bycast for long-term storage of medical imaging data.

Leslie Versweyveld

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