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Wanted: Tough Computational Problems

By Salvatore Salamone

June 14, 2005 |
Bio•IT World and Orion Multisystems have teamed to launch the Personal Supercomputing Contest intended to help a life science group tackle a difficult computational challenge by providing what amounts to four years of CPU time on an Orion personal supercomputer.

The Personal Supercomputing Contest, announced last month at the Bio•IT World Conference + Expo, will accept applications until August 1. One entry will be selected to win roughly two weeks of run time on an Orion Multisystems DS-96, a 96-node deskside cluster. That translates into 3.68 CPU compute years of processing power. There is no entry fee.

"Orion has chosen the life sciences community for our first Personal Supercomputing Contest because of the great fit of genomics, cheminformatics, and systems biology problems to our platform," says Juli Nash Moultray, industry marketing director at Orion Multisystems.

Submitted applications will be judged on three criteria: relevance of the problem to the life sciences; the innovative nature of the problem; and whether the proposed problem to be solved fits into the compute time frame allocated.

Judging will be done jointly by Bio•IT World and Orion Multisystems. Stu Jackson, Orion's manager of application engineering and former director of bioinformatics at Incyte, will be a contest judge and will help ensure that the winning application runs properly on the DS-96.

When the idea of a contest came up, Jackson notes, "Bio•IT World was the obvious choice as a partner. It is a vital conduit to IT professionals in the life sciences. I sure read it when I was at Incyte."

The contest winner will be notified in early September. Jackson will then work with the winner to get the application running on the DS-96. The goal is to give the application about two weeks of run time that conclude by the end of September. Contest coverage will coincide with the SC|05 supercomputing conference to beheld in Seattle in November.

Contest entry information is available on both the Bio•IT World and Orion Multisystems Web sites.

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