DTU Accelerates Metagenomic Research with SGI Altix UV
Solution Expected to Become One of Europe's Largest Supercomputer Systems
FREMONT, Calif.—June 14, 2011 — SGI (NASDAQ: SGI), a trusted leader in technical computing, today announced that the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has selected an SGI® Altix® UV 1000 high performance computing (HPC) system to help researchers mine huge amounts of genomic data from microbes and humans to identify novel genes and proteins that give living organisms their distinct properties.
The new SGI solution is being configured with Intel® Xeon® processor E7 series and 8 TB of shared memory. The system will be physically linked to the existing supercomputer installation at DTU's Center for Biological Sequence Analysis (CBS), and will have access to the center's high-performance disk system, which is approaching a capacity of 1,000 TB. The computer has been named Anakyklosis (Greek for recycling), reflecting its impact on a bio-sustainable future.
"Systems biology demands massive integration of extremely large data sets. Large shared memory will enable us to handle such data at a much higher speed with more flexibility, and with a greater focus on the biological questions at hand," said Professor Søren Brunak, CBS center director at DTU. "The new SGI Altix UV HPC solution will significantly help our work in new, exciting areas such as disease and basic biology research."
Metagenomics systems biology is one of the six cornerstones of the new 100 million Euro center at DTU, and will focus on a treasure hunt for novel enzymes relevant to the biotechnology industry and for biochemical pathways that will be used to engineer novel so-called "cell factories." These will be optimized to produce chemicals from cheap, non-fossil carbon sources, thereby reducing the world's dependence on oil.
"In the past, our researchers believed the data in the human genome was daunting, representing massive amounts of data. However, now with metagenomics, the science of investigating entire bacterial communities such as the ones we have in our stomachs and those that exist in the deep seas, it generates far greater amounts of data. Therefore, we need even larger computer resources to make sense of it," said Senior Scientist Nikolaj Blom at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at DTU.
"Our current and future data sets are many times larger than the size of the human genome, and our legacy computer solution was limited in how quickly it could process this data simultaneously due to memory bottlenecks," said Associate Professor Thomas Sicheritz-Pont&eacture;n, who will lead the metagenomics effort in the new Novo Nordisk Foundation center. "The new SGI Altix UV supercomputer system will be able to hold the equivalent of approximately 2,500 human genomes in working memory at the same time. This allows us to process data sets that are impractical to work with today, in particular when we need to integrate them with many other data sets."
SGI Altix UV is unique in its delivery of an extremely deep computational dynamic range, which enables CBS researchers to explore very large biological networks and sequence data. Furthermore, the 8 TB of shared memory capability provides the ability to handle the data-intensive software and algorithms that are typical in this field.
"The selection of SGI Altix UV 1000 by DTU, one of Europe's leading centers of biological research, is a clear reflection of the extraordinary power and capability these systems offer to life science researchers," said Rod Evans, vice president of SGI EMEA. "We share in their excitement about the new discoveries that are anticipated with this new system."
Technical University of Denmark
Iben Julie Schmidt
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