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Danish University Buys SGI Supercomputer for Sustainable Systems Biology Research

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The Technical University of Denmark has purchased an SGI Altix supercomputer that will support research efforts aimed at producing chemicals in living cells from inexpensive and sustainable raw materials.

The 512-core computer, an SGI Altix UV 1000, has been named Anakyklosis, which is the Greek word for recycling. The system runs Intel Xeon 2.66 GHz 8-core processors and has 8 TB of shared memory.

The supercomputer will address a data-processing bottleneck that has affected researchers at the institution, Thomas Sicheritz-Pontén, who directs metagenomics research at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at DTU, said in a statement. He added that it will open up new systems biology research opportunities.

The system, which was purchased with funding from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, is expected to help researchers identify new genes and proteins that can be used in future sustainable biotechnology industrial processes.

Metagenomics-based systems biology will be one of the center's six main research areas and the supercomputer will be part of the center's search for new enzymes for the biotech industry and the construction of biological cell factories.

Søren Brunak, a director at the center for biological sequence analysis at DTU’s Systems Biology unit, said that Anakyklosis's shared memory will help users handle their data “quickly and flexibly” and “expand our ability to answer the basic biological questions we face, such as how to get a cell to produce something it was not originally made for.”

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