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ICM's New Blue Gene Supercomputer Supports The Largest Biomedical Research Initiative In Poland
Date:4/4/2013

WARSAW, Poland, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) Blue Gene/Q, the most powerful single architecture supercomputer in Poland, has been chosen by The Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modeling, University of Warsaw (ICM) of Poland to support the country's largest biomedical and biotechnological research initiative called, "Centre for Pre-clinical Research and Technology (CePT)."  More than 500 life sciences and biomedical researchers, physicians and students, from a consortium led by The Medical University of Warsaw (WUM) and consisting of three universities and seven research centers of the Polish Academy of Sciences, will use the supercomputer and its supporting e-infrastructure to gain further insight into chronic diseases.

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"CePT, a EUR 100 million project, aims to support Poland's transition towards more preventive and patient-centric healthcare," said Dr. Robert Sot , Director of CePT, Warsaw University.  "The project will allow the medical community to provide a more holistic approach and open collaboration for the development of innovative treatments and drugs that will improve patients' quality of life over the long term."

Estimations show that over one-fourth of Poland's aging population has developed at least one or, very often, more chronic diseases such as: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory conditions, stroke, and neurological disorders. Early detection and timely diagnosis of these diseases translate into well-targeted and optimized healthcare, as well as improved quality of a patient's life. Similar demands could stimulate the need to carry out clinical and pre-clinical tests covering three to five million Polish citizens, and generate massive volumes of valuable health data which can, in turn, be used by laboratories.

ICM's new Blue Gene/Q, code named Nostromo, will help scientists process up to 16 terabytes of Big Data per one sequence by running compute-intensive simulations at the speed of 209.7 trillion operations per second. The supercomputer will use algorithms moving beyond the "routine" sequencing of human or animal genomes, to tackle more complex processes that will reveal the rare variants in human genetics, (i.e. those that cause predispositions to Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, downs syndrome, etc.). By understanding what prevents protein molecules, which build and maintain human bodies, from folding up properly and triggering a disease, scientists will be able to develop a new drug or treatment, (i.e. "build" their own molecules or block the action of undesirable enzymes).

"The process of developing and generating a new drug or treatment normally takes up to three years, and costs have nearly quadrupled in the past 15 years," said Prof. Marek Niezgodka , Director of ICM. "With Nostromo, we expect to increase the simulation speed which will bring us much closer to the era of "personalized medicine," when preventative approaches can be tailored to a specific condition."

Nostromo currently ranks N 143 on the Top500.org list and N 9 on Green500.org. The system has already been installed by IBM Poland and Qumak SA, IBM's Business Partner.

"IBM delivered the most powerful single architecture supercomputer for the ICM of Poland.  Nostromo is able to process up to 16 TB of Big Data per one sequence by running simulations at the speed of 210 TFLOPS," said Ales Bartunek , Country General Manager, IBM Poland and Baltics. "We are confident that the POWER based Blue Gene/Q has the potential to save years of research and help scientists take healthcare in Poland to the next level."

About Nostromo

The IBM Blue Gene/Q system, based on POWER architecture, currently ranks N 143 on the Top500.org list and N 9 on the Green500.org. It runs at 209.7 trillion operations per second (TFLOPS). Its ability to process Big Data is instrumental for the faster isolation and analysis of genes and proteins, responsible for the most common chronic lifestyle diseases. It can also be used to simulate new drug development. The supercomputing's drug modeling, integrates mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology with advanced, high performance computing and engineering and has the potential to significantly reduce a new drug's time to market by developing new procedures of drug design.

Blue Gene/Q (BG/Q) is the next evolutionary waypoint on IBM's HPC leadership roadmap to ultra-scalability and ultra-reliability in a power-efficient, space-saving platform for the most demanding grand challenge computational science applications. It is the next logical step towards developing technologies and architectures for exascale capable computing systems.

Reliability is one of the most critical issues facing ultrascale computing.  As the number of processing elements continues to grow, those elements must show a comparable increase in reliability in order to deliver a productive and useful platform.  As with the previous generations of Blue Gene, the reliability of a machine at this scale will be unparalleled.

The BG/Q design continues the remarkable legacy of its previous two Blue Gene generations providing unmatched power efficiency. The Nostromo supercomputer is by far the most energy efficient supercomputer in Poland and is among the top ten on the Green500.

About ICM: http://www.icm.edu.pl/web/guest/home

About CePT: http://cept.wum.edu.pl/en/node/91

About IBM in Poland: www.ibm.com/pl

About IBM Blue Gene/Q: http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/technicalcomputing/solutions/bluegene/index.html  

CONTACT: Allyson McKenney , 1-914-766-4182, amckenney@us.ibm.com


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