St. Jude ranked among top 500 supercomputer centers

December 22, 2003

MEMPHIS, TENN.--December 22, 2003 - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has joined the ranks of world-class supercomputer users around the world with the installation of an IBM computer system that can perform more than 600 billion operations per second.

The supercomputer, an IBM eServer® BladeCenter™, which is equivalent to 280 servers working at once, puts St. Jude in 251st place among the top 500 supercomputer users in the world, according to Clayton W. Naeve, Ph.D., chief research information officer and director of the St. Jude Hartwell Center for Bioinformatics and Biotechnology.

St. Jude is the only children's hospital to make the list, which is compiled twice annually by supercomputing experts from the University of Mannheim, Germany, the University of Tennessee, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (www.top500.org).

"St. Jude is now in the same arena as major computer centers operated by governments, major corporations, communications corporations and physics research centers around the world," Naeve said.

St. Jude will use this enormous computing capacity to accelerate medical research to find preventions, cures and new treatment options for catastrophic diseases in children, such as cancers, acquired and inherited immunodeficiencies and genetic disorders.

The supercomputer, a Linux cluster, permits many projects to be completed quickly at the same time, or one very large project to be completed quickly, according to Pat Ford, the supercomputer facility's operations director.

"Many of the important questions being asked by our researchers require enormous computing power to handle hundreds of thousands of pieces of data or to generate images of important biological molecules to study how they work in the body," Ford said. "The supercomputer will significantly speed research designed to save lives by reducing the time it takes for our scientists to move from data collection to discovery of important new findings."

"The Hartwell Center is dedicated to research that will benefit children, and in the long run, the research will benefit all people who suffer from some of the same catastrophic diseases that threaten children around the world," Naeve said. "In that sense, although this is a St. Jude resource, it will produce knowledge that will be a resource for the entire world."

"Our goal is to help St. Jude use information technology to quicken the pace of clinical research into children's diseases," said James Coffin, Ph.D., vice president, IBM Life Sciences. "The selection of the right technology was very important to St. Jude because of the complexity of the projects and the volume of data that researchers are dealing with in their investigations. We are very pleased that they chose IBM's BladeCenter for their computing needs."

One of the St. Jude projects uses the new computing power to study the motion of enzyme molecules in order to determine how these proteins work, and how mutations in them change or destroy their ability to do their jobs, Naeve said. Enzymes are large proteins that control the speed of specific biochemical reactions in the body. Many diseases are caused by malfunctioning enzymes.

"Shape is everything to a protein," Naeve said. "Mutations that change a protein's shape can derail the protein's function and disrupt the normal function of the cell. And the shape of a potential drug molecule determines whether it will interact properly with its target in the body."

A second project that has benefited from the supercomputer is the study of the flexibility of a tumor suppressor protein called p27, and how the flexibility affects the protein's function. The supercomputer cut computation time from 200 hours to just 20. Another project that is benefiting from the supercomputer is a study that screens various molecules to determine if they might be effective drugs against certain diseases.

"This is an extremely exciting time to be working at St. Jude," Ford said. "The more experience we gain with our supercomputer, the more effectively we'll be able to use it, and the more rapidly we'll find cures for catastrophic diseases."
-end-
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit www.stjude.org.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Related Supercomputer Articles from Brightsurf:

Supercomputer reveals atmospheric impact of gigantic planetary collisions
The giant impacts that dominate late stages of planet formation have a wide range of consequences for young planets and their atmospheres, according to new research.

Supercomputer model simulations reveal cause of Neanderthal extinction
IBS climate scientists discover that according to new supercomputer model simulations, only competition between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens can explain the rapid demise of Neanderthals around 43 to 38 thousand years ago.

Supercomputer simulations present potential active substances against coronavirus
Several drugs approved for treating hepatitis C viral infection were identified as potential candidates against COVID-19, a new disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Coronavirus massive simulations completed on Frontera supercomputer
Coronavirus envelope all-atom computer model being developed by Amaro Lab of UC San Diego on NSF-funded Frontera supercomputer of TACC at UT Austin.

Supercomputer shows 'Chameleon Theory' could change how we think about gravity
Supercomputer simulations of galaxies have shown that Einstein's theory of General Relativity might not be the only way to explain how gravity works or how galaxies form.

Scientists develop way to perform supercomputer simulations of the heart on cellphones
You can now perform supercomputer simulations of the heart's electrophysiology in real time on desktop computers and even cellphones.

Tianhe-2 supercomputer works out the criterion for quantum supremacy
A world's first criterion for quantum supremacy was issued, in a research jointly led by Prof.

Supercomputer simulations show new target in HIV-1 replication
Nature study found naturally-occurring compound inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6) promotes both assembly and maturation of HIV-1.

Researchers measure the coherence length in glasses using the supercomputer JANUS
Thanks to the JANUS II supercomputer, researchers from Spain and Italy (Institute of Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems of the University of Zaragoza, Complutense University of Madrid, University of Extremadura, La Sapienza University of Rome and University of Ferrara), have refined the calculation of the microscopic correlation length and have reproduced the experimental protocol, enabling them to calculate the macroscopic length.

Officials dedicate OSC's newest, most powerful supercomputer
State officials and Ohio Supercomputer Center leaders gathered at a data center today (March 29) to dedicate the Owens Cluster.

Read More: Supercomputer News and Supercomputer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.