Sandia LabNews

Sandia, Celera, Compaqjoin forces to createsuperdupercomputerfor biotech applications

Goal is 100 TeraOPS, withpossibility of 1,000 TeraOPS

DOE announced in Washington Jan. 19 that Sandia, Celera Genomics, and Compaq have entered into a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) to develop the next generation software and computer hardware solutions specifically designed for computational biology and a full range of life sciences applications.Labs Director C. Paul Robinson signed the agreement with Celera in a ceremony at DOE headquarters.

Compaq will provide the project technology.The goal is to increase computing capability to100 trillion operations per second (100 TeraOPS). By sharing some computing technology developed by Sandia, Celera and Compaq may ultimately reach the “petacruncher” (1,000 TeraOPS) level.This level of cooperation is necessary to meet the dramatic increases in performance required for emerging genomics and proteomics applications at affordable prices and brings together the capabilities of three leaders in bioinformatics, high-performance computing, and massively parallel systems.

The goal is toincrease com-puting capabil-ity to 100 tril-lion operationsper second (100TeraOPS).

Proteomics is the study of the function, structure, and interactions of proteins in cells, including humans and other organisms.“The next stage of the biotechnology revolution that was started by the Human Genome Pro-gram will be fueled by the successful marriage of molecular biology with high-performance computing science,” Bill Richardson, in his last full day in office as energy secretary, said at the ceremony. “The Department of Energy, as it helped develop the technology that made the human genome project possible, once again is forging ahead to provide the tools to bring the genome to life.

”Bill Blake, vice president of High Performance Technical Computing at Compaq, said the outstanding aspect of the CRADA relationship is “the simultaneous provision of algorithmic support, design of actual application software, and development of the system platform by three organizations with world-class competence in their respective areas.. . . Our intent with this alliance is to apply the same full system modeling approach to bio-science that has been so successfully applied to physical sciences in the DOE/NNSA [National Nuclear Security Administration] Stockpile Stewardship program.”Celera President J. Craig Venter said even the most powerful of today’s supercomputers do not meet the needs of his company’s work in genomics. “Just three years ago, the computational needs of biology were thought to be minor and irrelevant to the computing industry.

Today, biologists are setting the pace of development for the industry.” But, he said, “As Compaq and the Department of Energy move toward creation of the next generation of super computers for defense purposes, we look forward to helping both groups develop the new machines,software, and algorithms to advance life sciences.”Bill Camp, Director of Sandia’s Computation,Computers, and Mathematics Center 9200, said delivering affordable and scalable supercomputer architectures has been the focus of Sandia research for more than a decade.“Our knowledge will be useful because under-standing the complexity of the human genome requires manipulating ever vaster amounts of information, using more advanced computing technologies than was required even for the assembly of the human genome itself.

“We . . . look forward to providing world-class expertise in parallel algorithms and systems software in the cause of human health, and welcome the opportunity to play a role in developing what may be some of the most exciting science in recent human history,” he said. Sandia, Compaq combine experience The alliance will use Compaq Alpha processors connected in massively parallel configuration with extremely high bandwidth, and low latency mesh interconnects. Compaq and Sandia will collaborate on developing system hardware and software. Both have extensive experience with supercomputers based on Alpha.Compaq already manufactures a line of supercomputers, the Alpha Server SC series, that was recently selected by NNSA as the architecture for the world’s most powerful computer, the ASCIQ system, which will deliver 30 trillion operations per second when delivered in 2002.

ASCI, the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative, is a key component of the stockpile stewardship program to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stock-pile in the absence of nuclear testing. Sandia currently operates the most powerful Linux-based supercomputer in existence, Cplant™, which employs more than 1,600 Alpha processors. Sandia also is home to ASCI Red, the first TeraOp supercomputer, until very recently the fastest supercomputer in the world.

The full news release can be found at