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Cray Expands Bioinformatics Partnerships to Germany, South Africa

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Adding to its showcase of global collaborations with leading academic computational biology researchers, Cray recently established ties with two German bioinformatics groups and the South African National Bioinformatics Institute.

For two years, researchers at the Konrad Zuse Center for Information Technology in Berlin and at Bielefeld University will receive remote access to at least one Cray SV1 and one Cray SV2 supercomputer to develop new algorithms for EST clustering, sequence alignment, protein structure prediction, and other compute-intensive tasks. The German researchers will be among a select few to have early access to the SV2, which is still under development but is being designed to reach peak performances of multiple tens of teraflops. The US Department of Defense has already ordered two SV2s, worth nearly $19 million, for delivery in 2003.

The SANBI collaboration started three or four months ago and initially involved remote access to an SV1 machine to perform and speed up EST clustering projects. Later this summer, SANBI will receive an SV1 computer at its own site under undisclosed financial terms.

Cray is steadily carving out a comfortable niche in the bioinformatics market for its machines, whose hardware features were originally developed to meet the demand for fast pattern matching within the intelligence community.

More collaborations are planned for the near future, according to Steve Conway, Cray’s bioinformatics business director, but the demand is greater than the company can accommodate without losing focus. Cray has already established about two-thirds of its desired collaborations, he added, which also include the National University of Singapore, the National Cancer Institute, and the Institute of Systems Biology, through its partnership with the Arctic Region Supercomputer Center in Fairbanks.

— JK

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