While microbial communities are ordinarily relatively stable, climate and environmental factors can spur the success of some and the destruction of others. In agriculture, for instance, changes in diverse microbial communities can cause complete crop loss; however, by learning how to manipulate them, farmers may one day be able to better manage plant diseases and insect infestations.
"This approach will advance human progress in environmental protection, public health and safety, sustainable energy and many other research areas," Fofanov said.
Similarly, some microbes have been known to make polluted water drinkable, and harnessing that quality has the potential to eradicate water-borne diseases and help alleviate drought and famine.
"The computational tools will pave the way to less expensive and more reliable tests that can be used across the globe. The sheer number of microbial communities presents great commercial potential," said Johnsson, Cullen distinguished professor of computer science, mathematics, and electrical and computer engineering and head of UH's TLC2 and the Advanced Computing Research Laboratory (ACRL).
The team's winning contest entry was judged by internationally recognized industry and academic leaders in computation and research and used both high-performance computational tools at TLC2, which were powered by Intel Itanium-based systems, and the latest genomic sequencing analysis technologies.
"Itanium-based systems, with their relatively large caches, provide the effective memory bandwidth we need for fast processing of genomic information. Their high-availability design has been serving us very well, providing very dependable access for years," said Johnsson. "The efficiency and availability of the Itanium systems have enabled us to make very rapid progress and broaden our research into a broad range of genomes."
The Itanium Solutions Alliance Innovation Contest recognizes so
|Contact: Lisa Merkl|
University of Houston