TGAC installs largest SGI UV 300 supercomputer for life sciences worldwide

May 11, 2016

LONDON and MILPITAS, CA - May 9, 2016 - With the world's largest SGI® UV™ 300 installation for Life Sciences, with one of the largest Intel® SSD for PCIe*deployments worldwide, TGAC's new supercomputing platform gives the research Institute access to the next-generation of SGI UV technology for genomics. This will enable TGAC researchers to store, categorise and analyse more genomic data in less time for decoding living systems and answering crucial biological questions.

This new TGAC platform comprises two SGI UV 300 systems totalling 24 terabytes (TB) of shared-memory, 512 Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 v3 cores and 64TB of Intel® P3700 SSDs with NVMe* storage technology. Each SGI UV 300 flash memory solution features 12TB of shared memory with 7th generation SGI NUMAlink® ASIC technology, scaling up to 64 TB of global addressable memory as a single system.

Paired with flash storage, the combined 24TB SGI UV 300 supercomputers can increase processing speeds of heavy workloads in scientific research by 80 percent. This combination of leading-edge technology allows TGAC researchers to benefit from the faster processing capabilities of the SGI UV 300, providing an extraordinarily powerful platform for genomics analysis.

In particular, the system will dramatically reduce the time to perform large genome assembly that TGAC researchers specialise in, as well as the analysis of wheat genotype and phenotype data generated by the Seeds of Discovery programme. TGAC will use the pioneering SGI HPC technology to enable faster analysis of complex genomes which require both large memory and fast processing capabilities, providing a powerful boost to TGAC's research projects. This will include sequencing and assembling multiple lines of wheat with the Institute's 'w2rap' assembly software - developed by the Algorithm Development team led by Bernardo Clavijo.

The new technology will also be used to aid the development of novel analysis techniques for data integration, by taking advantage of the larger, faster memory-per-core specifications of the system and its accelerated I/O capabilities from the NVMe SSDs. This will provide a significant speedup of data movement between the hardware and TGAC's genome analysis software.

Dr Tim Stitt, Head of Scientific Computing at TGAC, said: "Continuing our successful collaborations with SGI and Intel in deploying novel and innovative computing technology, the new SGI UV 300 appliance with NVMe SSDs will undoubtedly be a leader in-field of genomic analysis.

"With the unique shared-memory technology from SGI and Intel's leading processor and non-volatile memory storage solutions, this system will set the new yardstick for large-scale data-intensive bioinformatics computations. The combination of processor performance, memory capacity and one of the largest deployments of Intel SSD storage worldwide makes this a truly powerful computing platform for the life sciences."

Jorge Titinger, president and CEO, SGI, said: "The complexity of genomic data and workloads today requires high performance computing (HPC) to provide new insights for researchers and allow them to derive conclusions from the massive data jigsaw puzzle. This enables TGAC to tackle fundamental problems such as increasing the yield of crops to keep up with the population growth. SGI is honoured to be extending the partnership with TGAC by providing the SGI UV 300 architecture. This system is designed for data intensive, in-memory, I/O demanding applications and includes the very latest NUMAlink 7 ASIC, scaling right up to 64TB of globally addressable memory as a single system. This is all done using Open Standards unmodified Linux allowing for the SGI UV to be run as one system, offering flexibility for exploring new algorithms and programming models without restriction.

"By tightly coupling the Intel® P3700 SSDs with NVMe* storage technology with the latest generation SGI UV 300 system, SGI allows customers like TGAC to achieve extraordinary bandwidth and inputs/outputs per second (IOPS) and will keep TGAC research and productivity at the very top of this highly competitive worldwide domain of genomic analysis. We are very proud of such a successful collaboration and look forward to TGAC researchers achieving, even more, breakthroughs and accelerated productivity with this new system," said Titinger.

Ketan Paranjape, general manager of Intel's Life Sciences team, added: "Knowledge of plant and animal genomes can lead to breakthroughs in drug discovery, food safety, and more, helping us to better manage climate change, feed a growing population, and mitigate the impact of newly emergent diseases. With the SGI UV 300 system, Intel Xeon Processor E7 v3 product family and Intel DC P3700 SSDs with NVMe, TGAC can now assemble large plant and animal genomes in record times that, until a few months ago, were impossible."

Part of the SGI UV server line for high performance in-memory computing, the new SGI UV 300 are advanced symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems designed for compute-intensive, fast algorithm workloads such as genome assembly, computer-aided engineering (CAE) and scientific simulations. Limitations on computer clusters to perform analytics on very large data sets in-memory and scale without severe latency implications caused by the cluster networking have led to a surge in scale-up server platforms.

The SGI UV server, in its fifth generation, is well placed to serve this need. For TGAC, a key benefit for using this most powerful system is the scalability and memory capabilities to execute some of the most demanding data and compute-intensive workloads including large, complex genome assembly and analytics. The SGI UV with the Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 v3 product family create a powerful technology that can advance genomic breakthroughs.

TGAC is strategically funded by BBSRC and operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.

Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact:

Hayley London
Marketing & Communications Officer, The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC)
T: +44 (0)1603 450107

Intel and Xeon are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

About TGAC

The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) is a world-class research institute focusing on the development of genomics and computational biology. TGAC is based within the Norwich Research Park and receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) - £7.4M in 2013/14 - as well as support from other research funders. TGAC is one of eight institutes that receive strategic funding from BBSRC. TGAC operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.

TGAC offers state of the art DNA sequencing facility, unique by its operation of multiple complementary technologies for data generation. The Institute is a UK hub for innovative Bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. It is also actively involved in developing novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational Bioscience. Additionally, the Institute offers a Training programme through courses and workshops, and an Outreach programme targeting schools, teachers and the general public through dialogue and science communication

About SGI

SGI is a global leader in high-performance solutions for compute, data analytics and data management that enable customers to accelerate time to discovery, innovation, and profitability. Visit ( for more information.

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© 2016 Silicon Graphics International Corp. All rights reserved. SGI, the SGI logo, SGI UV and NUMAlink are trademarks or registered trademarks of Silicon Graphics International Corp. or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. Intel and Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. All other trademarks are property of their respective holders


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, BBSRC invested over £509M in world-class bioscience in 2014-15 and is the leading funder of wheat research in the UK (over £100M investment on UK wheat research in the last 10 years). We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see:

For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see:

Earlham Institute

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