Cedars-Sinai Medical Center deploys Sun Compute Grid to uncover new ways to treat diseases

Santa Clara 07 December 2006Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is now using a Sun Grid Rack system, comprised of 400 Sun Fire x64 servers, Sun StorageTek solutions, Sun N1 software and pre-integrated by Sun Customer Ready Systems, to process and analyse vast amounts of complex data in the pursuit of medical discoveries that could lead to new treatments for life-threatening and chronic diseases. One of the largest academic medical centres in the United States and an expert in clinical research, Cedars-Sinai expects to more than quadruple its previous data processing capacity using the Sun high-performance computing Grid, while also decreasing cost and power consumption.

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At the new Spielberg Family Center for Applied Proteomics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, researchers are doing highly complex analyses of the proteins in patient blood samples in order to discover and develop treatments - for cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, high cholesterol and other diseases - that are based on an individual's biochemical make-up and medical history. To undertake this task, Cedars-Sinai sought a supercomputer capable of massive computational power and data storage to process multiple terabytes of raw data daily and reveal patterns that could be correlated to clinical outcomes.

"Sun looked at the tasks and the computational needs we had and was able to provide an optimal solution. They were able to meet our needs at every level", stated Jonathan Katz, senior scientist and director of operations, Spielberg Family Center for Applied Proteomics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Cedars-Sinai chose Sun as the best solution for its processing, storage and back-up requirements. The 400 Sun servers form a supercomputer in a compact footprint that perform huge volumes of statistical and data analysis. The system is aiming to generate four terabytes of data daily by 2007 - four times what was previously processed by the Grid - and eight terabytes daily by 2008. The processing power enables researchers to analyse complex data sets in days rather than weeks or months and cross-compare data to uncover new disease connections.

In fact, the Cedars-Sinai system was named to the bi-annual TOP500 list of supercomputing sites in the world during the June 2006 International Supercomputer Conference (ISC2006) in Dresden, Germany. Sun now has 10 high-performance systems on the TOP500 supercomputers list.

"Leading research organisations come to Sun for our proven expertise in high-performance computing. Sun's technologies and services enable organisations to accelerate real-world problem solving, while also decreasing cost and power consumption", stated Marc Hamilton, senior director of High Performance Computing, Sun Microsystems. "Sun's commitment goes beyond the technology though - what drives our innovation in HPC is the belief that our supercomputers can help organisations like Cedars-Sinai solve some of the most pressing health care challenges that humans face."

Cedars-Sinai estimates that it saved $60.000 and two months' time by having the Sun Customer Ready Programme integrate and deploy the pre-assembled Grid. Moreover, the energy-efficient Sun servers provide further cost savings by scaling down to one-third their normal power when not active.

"We have a remarkable relationship with Sun. The passion of the employees goes far beyond selling equipment. They offer to come in on weekends to help us. The enthusiasm and dedication is something I haven't experienced with any company - ever", stated Dr. David Agus, director, Spielberg Family Center for Applied Proteomics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The first of seven hospitals in California whose nurses have been honoured with the prestigious Magnet designation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is one of the largest non-profit academic medical centers in the Western United States. For 19 consecutive years, it has been named Los Angeles' most preferred hospital for all health needs in an independent survey of area residents. Cedars-Sinai is internationally renowned for its diagnostic and treatment capabilities and its broad spectrum of programmes and services, as well as breakthroughs in biomedical research and superlative medical education. It ranks among the top 10 non-university hospitals in the nation for its research activities and is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs Inc. (AAHRPP).

More information on Sun is available in the VMW September 2006 article The Institute for Genomic Research migrates from HP to Sun to conduct complex molecular research with improved energy efficiency.


Leslie Versweyveld

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