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Terra Soft, Sony Target Bioinformatics for First Cell-Based Compute Cluster

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – IT systems provider Terra Soft said today that it is building a life science supercomputing cluster with the new Cell processor that underlies Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 3.
Terra Soft said that it has been working with Sony Computer Entertainment since 2005 to develop and manage a supercomputing cluster built upon Linux and the Cell Broadband Engine, which was developed by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM. The company said that it has recently completed construction of a new 3,000-square-foot supercomputing facility and that it will now begin to construct a test cluster and a “substantially larger” production cluster based on the Cell.
The company plans to run its Y-Bio suite of bioinformatics applications on the test cluster, and said that the production cluster “will be made available to select university and Department of Energy laboratories to further life sciences research.”
According to Terra Soft, the Cell Broadband Engine’s multi-core processing environment allows certain code to function “at a superior level of performance over traditional single or dual-core CPUs.”
The company said that the cluster, which is expected to be operational before the end of the year, will be the first built around the Cell processor.
Thomas Swidler, director of R&D at SCEI, said in a statement that the cluster is “a means of demonstrating the diversity of the PS3, taking it well beyond the traditional role of a game box.”

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