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Sun Names Two New Partners in Academic Collaboration Program

NEW YORK, August 1 - Sun Microsystems is collaborating with the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and Beijing Genomics Institute to develop biological computing technology under the Sun "Centers of Excellence" program, the company announced Wednesday. 

The program offers academic institutions using Sun computer systems matching grants, but Stefan Unger, business development manager for computational biology in Sun's global education and research group, would not disclose the level of funding it has allocated to the organizations.

The COE program "goes beyond a normal academic discount," said Unger. "This is a way to have a higher level of attention. It is a partnership between Sun and the university."

While academic centers may approach Sun to become a COE, only certain organizations are selected. The institutions chosen "have to share our vision of being a center of excellence, committing to a set of deliverables, and creating technology of mutual interest that the community is [also] interested in," said Unger.

The Newark, Del.-based Delaware Bioinformatics Institute, supported by state funding and state-wide universities and businesses, was recognized for its work in protein structure, biological pathway simulations, computerized detection of sequence repeats and SNPs, and whole genome comparisons. The Beijing Genomics Institute was chosen for its work in alternative splicing algorithms and proteomics, said Sun.

The projects under COE usually last between two and three years.

While Sun does not gain intellectual property from any product supported by the program, it broadens its user base and acts as a reference site for Sun, said Unger.

The program had already named the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and the University of Wisconsin-Madison as COEs, and plans to announce additional partners.

The COE program in its current conception dates to 1999, and also includes areas outside computational biology such as physics and high performance computing.

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