Supercomputing center partners with Institute for Systems Biology

August 01, 2001

Fairbanks, Alaska -- The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center (ARSC) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) announced today the establishment of a new partnership with the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), located in Seattle Washington. The affiliation will allow the centers to establish cross-institute faculty appointments and facilitate the sharing of information and technology. The agreement will advance ARSC and UAF into the field of computational biology--while providing ISB with the computational power and know-how needed to tackle their enormous data sets.

"This alliance between the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center at the University of Alaska and the Institute for Systems Biology brings significant strength in supercomputing to the intense computational needs of the ISB in genomics and proteomics," said Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). "This partnership is an ideal blending of interdisciplinary skills and opportunities from each institution. Dr. Leroy Hood, a world-class medical researcher and founder of ISB, will add significantly to the University of Alaska¹s research program."

Through the sharing of information and resources with ISB, ARSC and ISB will have the opportunity to recognize immediate mutual benefits by beginning to explore the use of unique hardware features in computing platforms that enable rapid pattern matching to discover gene homologies, analyze proteomics data and develop and share visualization solutions. The partnership will broaden the scope of research that is already being conducted at ARSC. Current areas of research include climate modeling, ocean/ice coupled modeling, space physics and geology.

"This partnership brings together a world-class supercomputing facility with a world-class leader in the rapidly growing field of genomic research," said University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton. "We are pleased to bring our computational resources to bear on the challenging biological problems that ISB is working hard to solve. We are excited about building our own expertise in computational biology‹a field of science that is of critical importance as we seek to improve our understanding of the fundamental biological building blocks of life."

The Institute and ARSC are linked via the Pacific Northwest Gigapop network--an extremely high-bandwidth connection that allows researchers at both centers to quickly transfer massive amounts of information over the thousands of miles between Fairbanks and Seattle, and compute as though they were located next-door. Thus, both centers will be able to easily share unique knowledge of their respective fields.

"This affiliation will allow UAF scientists and students to become involved in the exciting fields of systems biology and bioinformatics," said UAF Provost Paul Reichardt. "The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center supports first-rate scientists and an outstanding computational facility. This partnership is a perfect opportunity for us to make significant contributions in these emerging areas of research."

The Institute for Systems Biology was founded in January 2000 by Hood, Dr. Ruedi Aebersold and Dr. Alan Aderem as a public research institute devoted to systems biology, an emerging field made possible by rapid advancements in genomic, proteomic and computer technologies. The Institute, which has grown to more than 170 staff, is also committed to pioneering new approaches to science education and increasing public awareness of biotechnology issues.

Hood, who co-developed the automated genetic sequencing technology that enabled the Human Genome Project, was among a small group of scientists who first advocated for the international effort in 1985. Aebersold, who is widely recognized for his work in analytical protein biochemistry and proteomics, leads a research group at the ISB that is focused on developing new methods and technologies for understanding the structure, function and control of complex biological systems. Aderem, a prominent immunologist and cell biologist and pioneer in the study of innate immunity, has provided scientists with fundamental insights into the functioning of the macrophage. ARSC provides computational resources in science and engineering to researchers within the University of Alaska and other academic institutions as well as the Department of Defense and other government agencies. ARSC, located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, provides computational resources to scientists and engineers within the University, the Department of Defense and other academic and government agencies. Founded in 1993, the center supports a 32-processor Cray SV1ex, a 272-processor Cray T3E and a 200-processor IBM SP. In addition, the center supports two StorageTek robotic tape silos and a variety of networking and visualization hardware and software. The ARSC staff includes experts in high performance computing, networking, visualization and data storage resources.
CONTACT: ARSC Public Information Officer Jenn Wagaman, 907-474-6551, or ISB Media Contact Geoff Patrick, 206-652-9506, ARSC news releases are also available on the Web at 01/003-1

University of Alaska Fairbanks

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