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VBI, Convey Computer partner to deliver technology to biomedical, life sciences researchers

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech will continue and expand its collaboration with high-performance computing (HPC) company Convey Computer as part of a new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.

"This partnership will usher in a paradigm shift in the way bioinformatics researchers process data by using Convey's hybrid-core platform and relevant technologies," said Harold "Skip" Garner, VBI executive director.

"Researchers are literally drowning in data," said Garner. "This grant allows us to leverage the most cutting-edge HPC technology to extract meaningful information from such a data-rich environment and move toward applications of lasting value for developers, bioinformaticians, and clinicians."

The $1 million project, funded through NSF's Strategic Technologies for Cyberinfrastructure (STCI) program, will be based on Convey's FPGA architecture. It will allow developers to track efficiency and usage patterns, and create cutting-edge tools that will be immediately deployed via web for researcher use. "Our Convey servers allow researchers to adapt architectures to emerging applications, which maximizes performance and provides impressive energy savings. Such technology attributes help scientists do more science, which can ultimately lead to incredible breakthroughs in the biosciences," said Bruce Toal, co-founder and CEO of Convey Computer.

Part of the program will fund a two-week summer institute for undergraduate students from a variety of diversity-rich partner institutions. This institute will give the students hands-on opportunities to train with developers and produce deliverables applicable to the project. The students will then have valuable experience necessary for building their future careers in science and engineering.

VBI has used Convey hybrid-core architecture on everything from policy informatics to gene annotation and sequencing. The institute's hybrid-core system, Shadowfax, features three Convey HC-1 systems in its configuration and is part of VBI's Partnership Supercomputing Program.


Contact: Tiffany Trent
Virginia Tech

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