Australia's Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative deploys SGI cluster to accelerate life sciences research

Melbourne 30 June 2010The Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI) has commissioned an SGI Altix XE1300 cluster for high performance computing (HPC) in its $100 million (AUD) Parkville Precinct facility. The SGI cluster will enable researchers to explore large databases, create complex simulation models, and to visualize and analyze data to accelerate important cancer, cardiovascular and neurological disease and diabetes research.


VLSCI was established by the University of Melbourne and the Victorian Government to drive world-leading life sciences research. Its facility is the first of its kind in Australia, and is on track to become one of the world's most powerful supercomputer and computational biology institutions. The SGI cluster will enable the facility to conduct leading-edge research practices with hundreds of Teraflops of computing power to increase speed of discovery.

"It is exciting for VLSCI and the University of Melbourne to see that 40 high-profile life sciences research projects are already progressing on our new SGI cluster", stated David Bannon, peak computing facility manager at VLSCI. "The successful projects cover a broad spectrum of life science research topics such as nano-molecular motors, G protein-coupled receptors or arteriosclerosis disease, amongst many others."

SGI Altix XE1300 offers superior performance, reliability and energy efficiency with low-latency fast interconnect based on Voltaire switching technology. The cluster contains 136 nodes, enabling data intensive applications to utilize the highest possible I/O performance, and 11,5 Teraflops of performance and 160TB of storage to support the initiative's critical research.

"SGI is delighted to be a technology supplier to VLSCI", stated Philip Chua, managing director and vice president of Asia Pacific and Japan at SGI. "The SGI Altix XE cluster and storage solution was rapidly deployed, installed and brought on-line within two months of the facility's introduction."

SGI Professional Services applied expertise in file system architecture, operational efficiencies and infrastructure optimization to design, implement and tune the architecture for optimal operation within the VLSCI environment. A Panasas file system was part of the solution, expressly designed for data-intensive applications that require the highest possible I/O performance.

The University of Melbourne and the Victorian Government have established the VLSCI to foster local research in Life Sciences and to strengthen Melbourne's position as a major hub for life sciences research and excellence on the international scene.

SGI is a global expert in large-scale clustered computing, high performance storage, HPC and data centre enablement and services. SGI is focused on helping customers solve their most demanding business and technology challenges. More company news is available in the VMW March 2010 article The Institute of Cancer Research selects SGI Altix UV, world's fastest supercomputer, as dedicated system for cancer research.

Source: Rackable Systems

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