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Southwest Foundation Wins $2M in Federal Stimulus Funds to Expand 'Computer Ranch'

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, Tex., will more than double the computing power of its AT&T Genomics Computing Center this summer, using a $2 million stimulus-funded federal grant.

The grant, announced last week, is intended to fund the manufacture and installation of 5,004 more linked processors for the computing center — resulting in the foundation housing a total of 8,004 linked computers. Installation of the processors should begin in August and be completed by mid-September.

When completed, the expansion will provide a 20-fold increase in data storage John Blangero, director of the computing center, said in a statement.

The Funding was approved by the NIH's National Center for Research Resources under a portion of the $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act designed to fund awards for scientific equipment at research institutions.

The expansion will result in the foundation creating a systems analyst position, as well as one or two additional positions at M&A Technology of Carrollton, Tex., which will manufacture, install, and maintain the processors. M&A was formed in 1984, and since 2002 has worked with the foundation in the design, assembly, and maintenance of the facility or "computer ranch."

"Our expansion will provide us with sufficient computational firepower to handle the coming flood of whole human genome sequencing, which will become cost-effective in the next one to two years," Blangero said in the statement. "This investment will keep the Foundation at the forefront of the expanding genetic frontier." 

According to the foundation, the computers support research projects that have received a total of $110 million in NIH grants.

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