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SGI Launches New High-Density Server, Bioinformatics Platform at LinuxWorld

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SGI previewed its SGI GenomeCluster platform at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in New York last week. It will be targeted for the SGI 1100, a single-unit 1.75 inch high-density server, which was also launched at LinuxWorld.

GenomeCluster comes preconfigured with 32, 46, or 128 Intel Pentium III processors and custom configurations are also available. It contains an accelerated Blast algorithm, called CT-Blast (cluster-throughput Blast), which has been optimized for Linux clusters.

CT-Blast parallelizes Blast computations across the cluster, enabling around 210,000 Blast searches per day on a 32-processor configuration, according to SGI. The company projected that a 128-CPU configuration would produce approximately 850,000 alignments per day.

“Users can use cost-effective hardware with our technology and still get the benefits of a high-throughput environment,” said Dan Stevens, business development manager of SGI. A typical price for a GenomeCluster system would be around $200,000, Stevens said, depending on the size of the system and the level of customization. Prices for the SGI 1100 server start at $2,600.

Stevens said that several customers have purchased GenomeCluster, though he declined to name them.

Among the first customers of the SGI 1100 server is the Center for Computational Research at the University of Buffalo, Stevens said. The center’s Linux cluster of 76 dual Pentium III processor SGI 1100 servers will be used primarily for computational chemistry, biology, and crystallography applications, according to Russ Miller, director of CCR.

The machine has more total peak throughput than all the rest of the center’s supercomputers combined, Miller said.

Miller has been running Shake-and-Bake — protein crystal structure determination software that he and his staff developed in collaboration with the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute — on the system for a month and says he’s “thrilled” with the results.

— BT

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