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IBM Donates an eServer to CU Boulder

NEW YORK, May 23 - IBM has donated a p690 eServer to the University of Colorado at Boulder, CU said today.


A variety of CU labs, including the Center for Computational Biology and the Center for Computational Pharmacology, will use the $1 million computer to interpret high-throughput data, according to Larry Hunter, a professor of computer science at CU.


"What we need ... is a large knowledge base that describes molecular biology in ways that are computable," said Hunter, who also directs the Center for Computational Pharmacology. "The school can then use the knowledge base to build graphical statistical models to explain expression-array data and to improve their ability to extract information from biomedical literature."


The p690's 64 gigabytes of RAM will do the job nicely, he said.


"[The research] we want to do takes an enormous amount of memory," according to Hunter. "We have been experimenting with document-oriented databases for some time now, and they've had some real performance problems. IBM lets us forget about these problems."


Last fall, Larry Hunter and IBM Life Sciences General Manager Caroline Kovac met at the computer giant's facility 10 miles north of Boulder and agreed that their groups should work together. To that end, the eServer will help the new collaborators buttress text mining and document management. Hunter added that a CU student will work with an IBM natural-language specialist this summer.


About a dozen researchers in Hunter's lab will use the p690, which is still in its crate at the CU medical school as its new home in the Fitzsimons campus is rigged. In addition, most of the Center for Computational Biology's 60 associated faculty will want to have face time with IBM tool.


"We want to demonstrate the utility of knowledge-based analysis, and I think we will have some pretty impressive demonstrations in the next six months," said Hunter.

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