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Compaq Rustles Up Business Down Under

HOPE ISLAND, Australia, May 9 — Several of Compaq's most high-profile life sciences customers -- Celera, the Whitehead Institute, and GeneProt -- were on the Gold Coast in Australia this week to explain to Australian genome researchers first-hand how the computer vendor has helped them to meet their high-performance computing needs.

Compaq and Platform Computing hosted the event, which attracted more than 100 attendees from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea.

Robin Offord, president of GeneProt, now the site of Compaq's largest life sciences supercomputing installation of 1,420 Alpha processors, opened the three-day event with a description of his company's industrial scale proteomics facility in Geneva. Offord, who said GeneProt's US facility in New Jersey would be operational by year's end, concluded his talk about the immense computing demands of protein work by asking Compaq, "When can we have our Petacruncher?"     

From Celera, Vivien Bonazzi, director of genomic information systems, David Lucas, senior manager of IT programs, and Gene Myers, vice president of informatics research, each spoke during the week about the IT challenges of their respective departments and described Celera's continually expanding computing demands.

Still bristling from Eric Lander’s recent public criticism of Celera’s genome assembly methodology, Myers noted that "because no one wants to believe we can do it," his team has undertaken an effort to assemble the human genome without relying on public project data.

Jill Mesirov, CIO of the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research, discussed ongoing projects at Whitehead in cancer genomics, funded by the Millennium, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Affymetrix consortium, that rely on class discovery and prediction algorithms. 

High profile genomics and proteomics customers such as Celera, Whitehead, and GeneProt have pushed Compaq to the fore of the life sciences technical computing market. Citing a recent International Data Group study that ranks Compaq first in technical computing market share for the life sciences, Lionel Binns, Compaq's worldwide manger for life and materials science group, said "as each new development takes place in life sciences, Compaq has an enviable record of supporting the leading organizations and companies." 

Binns also hinted that Compaq had more news in the pipeline. "We have the next life sciences development in mind and our eye on the next customer. But I won't say which country they're in or when it will be," Binns said.

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