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Apple Workgroup Cluster for Bioinformatics, MSDsite, International Protein Index, Catalytic Site Atlas


At MacWorld in San Francisco last week, Apple launched two products geared toward bioinformatics. The first, the Apple Workgroup Cluster for Bioinformatics, is a cluster of Xserve G5 servers, which the company also debuted last week, bundled with the INquiry software package from the BioTeam that includes more than 200 commonly used bioinformatics applications. The Apple Workgroup Cluster for Bioinformatics includes an Xserve G5 head node with 750 GB storage, an Asanté gigabit Ethernet switch, and an APC Smart-UPS uninterruptible power supply, along with a choice of up to 15 Xserve G5 cluster nodes. Pricing starts at $27,999.

Apple also previewed its Xgrid clustering technology, which is available as a free beta download at Xgrid connects multiple Macs with Apple’s Rendezvous networking technology and ships with built-in support for Blast. According to Apple, Xgrid can be used to cluster up to 84 Power PC G5 processors to create a supercomputer with 1.5 teraflops of processing power.

The European Bioinformatics Institute has added new features to the MSDsite service, the ligand environment search engine for the Macromolecular Structure Database, including ProSite sequence pattern searching, a new graphical query interface to specify a ligand and its environment, new search options for ligand interactions, sequence pattern 3D visualization, and a multi 3D visualization web interface that presents a 3D view of aligned sites, patterns, ligands, and their environment. MSDsite is available at

EBI has also released an updated version of the International Protein Index database at The database, compiled from Swiss-Prot, Trembl, RefSeq, and Ensembl, contains 40,110 entries for human, 40,380 for mouse, and 33,156 for rat.

Version 1.04 of EBI’s Catalytic Site Atlas, a database of enzyme active sites and catalytic residues in enzymes of 3D structure, is available at

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