UCLA's Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI) chooses Sun to help improve the study of healthy and diseased human brains

Santa Clara 07 February 2006UCLA's Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI) selected Sun to create an affordable high performance computing (HPC) Grid to help improve the study of the brain. Based on the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS), Sun N1 Grid Engine, 306 Sun Fire x64 (x86, 64-bit) servers and Sun StorEdge L8500, the Grid will run complex and data-intensive algorithms to assist LONI in researching causes, cures and treatments for ailments such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, and analysing brain development.


LONI is creating a "brain database" that will provide appropriate statistical power and visualization capabilities to examine an individual or group of people to better understand the brain's structure, deformations and atrophy. The system will support hundreds of scientists worldwide as they combine information from more than 10.000 images, leveraging LONI's series of algorithms and mathematical computations to study brain development, Alzheimer's disease, drug treatments for conditions such as schizophrenia, and the effect of AIDS on the brain. Prior to the implementation of the Grid, these computations were extremely complex, expensive and time-intensive.

"The new technology is really kind of a wonderful way to leapfrog what had been a very serious impediment to asking fundamental questions about the brain. Prior to the Grid, people were unable to move forward on specific research because they did not know how to do it or because the data would take weeks to process", stated Dr. Arthur W. Toga, Laboratory Director, LONI. "Our powerful Grid, based on the Solaris 10 OS, AMD Opteron processor-based Sun Fire x64 servers and Sun StorEdge L8500, is Web-interfaced so our neuroscientists who aren't mathematical by nature can easily gain access to the information. And the price/performance is outstanding - at a budget-friendly price point the speed allows us to more quickly analyse data and realize conclusions in hours rather than weeks."

LONI chose Sun technologies and services after an extensive evaluation process. In addition to beating competitors on price and performance, Sun's reputation, commercial stability and HPC engineering expertise also served as critical decision-making factors for LONI.

"Companies are coming to Sun for our technologies and services because of our demonstrated expertise in the HPC market. Sun is increasing the reach and impact of HPC by making it readily available to more customers as a key tool for solving real world problems", stated Bjorn Andersson, director of HPC and Grid Computing, Network Systems Group, Sun Microsystems. "Our innovations place us in a unique position to build the world's most powerful computers without breaking our customers' IT budgets."

Leslie Versweyveld

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