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Supercomputer provides massive computational boost to biomedical research at TGen

PHOENIX, Ariz. Oct. 29, 2008 -- In less time than the blink of an eye, the Translational Genomics Research Institute's new supercomputer at Arizona State University can do operations equal to every dollar in the recent Wall Street bailout.

That would be 700 billion computations in less than 1/60th of a second, says Dan Stanzione, director of the High Performance Computing Initiative at ASU's Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.

The "Saguaro 2" supercomputer, housed on the first floor of ASU's Barry M. Goldwater Center for Science and Engineering, is capable of 50 trillion mathematical operations per second.

"That's the equivalent of taking a calculator and doing one operation per second, by hand, continuously for the next one and a half million years," Stanzione said.

Although the computing world changes daily, and measurements depend on numerous factors, Stanzione said, for some functions, ASU's new computer may be among the top five in the world.

TGen will need that speed as it continues its research into a variety of human diseases through the use of data-rich DNA sequencing, genotyping, microarrays and bioinformatics.

"This is really a remarkable testament," to the cooperative efforts of ASU and TGen, said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, President and Scientific Director of TGen, especially in a tight funding environment.

The new supercomputer will help TGen's efforts in translational biomedicine, developing new therapies targeted for individual patients suffering from Alzheimer's, autism, diabetes, coronary heart disease, melanoma, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, multiple myeloma, and breast cancer.

Dr. Edward Suh, TGen's Chief Information Officer, said a joint TGen-ASU computer support team is being assembled, and he urged the creation of more partnerships between TGen and ASU.

"I am confident this new supercomputer system will help the ASU and TGen scientists expedite

Contact: Steve Yozwiak
The Translational Genomics Research Institute

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