National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences picks Cray XD1 supercomputer for protein structure analysis

Seattle 22 February 2005The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, will use a Cray XD1 supercomputer for advanced research in protein structure analysis and molecular modelling. The Cray XD1 system was procured from GMRI, utilizing their NASA/SEWP contract. Based in Manassas, Virginia, GMRI provides information technology solutions for federal, corporate and education customers. GMRI is a prime contractor to NIEHS and a partner of Cray. GMRI specializes in enterprise mass storage, supercomputing, e-commerce, web application development, network operations, and information and infrastructure assurance.


Company officials expect the Cray XD1 system's high-performance capabilities to accelerate scientific testing at NIEHS. For example, a nine-month process for modelling a protein structure can now be completed in one to two weeks.

There is still a huge gap between the number of known protein amino acid sequences and the number of known 3D structures of proteins. Accurate prediction of protein structures is one of the "grand challenge" problems of biology. Solving these problems could speed understanding of the genetic bases of diseases and lead to more effective drugs and medical treatments.

"It is gratifying to know that our new Cray XD1 system will be used by the world-class scientific investigators at NIEHS to improve human health", stated Peter Ungaro, Cray senior vice president of sales, marketing and service. "We are excited to help NIEHS pursue this important mission by providing advanced, cost-effective supercomputing power."

Cray will install the new supercomputer in first-quarter 2005 in the NIEHS facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The Office of Scientific Director within the NIEHS Division of Intramural Research will operate the system.

The Cray XD1 supercomputer is rapidly winning customers around the world. This exciting new system lets users experience the performance and reliability of Cray supercomputing technology in systems that scale from small to highly parallel. The Cray XD1 system provides scientists and engineers with a platform purpose-built to meet their high performance computing challenges, and is an attractive alternative to the challenge of managing clusters assembled from general-purpose business servers.

Cray provides innovative supercomputing systems that enable scientists and engineers in government, industry and academia to meet both existing and future computational challenges. Building on years of experience in designing, developing, marketing and servicing the world's most advanced supercomputers, Cray offers a comprehensive portfolio of HPC systems that deliver unrivaled sustained performance on a wide range of applications.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Part of the National Institutes of Health, NIEHS looks at factors in the environment that may be harmful to human health. The NIEHS conducts basic and applied research into the effects of environmental exposures on biological systems and human health, on the identification of susceptible human subpopulations, and on the interaction between the environment, genetics, and age. Through a multi-disciplinary biomedical research programme, disease prevention and intervention efforts, and communication and education programmes, the Institute strives to make a significant contribution to human health.

Leslie Versweyveld

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