March 7, 2002
Compaq Computer Corp.
William C. Blake
Vice President, High-Performance Technical Computing
Expect New Computer Architectures
What is the history of your organization’s involvement in life sciences?
Blake: Compaq began working closely with computational biologists in the early 1990s as the Human Genome Project geared up. Through partnerships with the Sanger Institute in the U.K. and Incyte Genomics, we began to see the potential for high performance computing to enable dramatic breakthroughs in biology. Compaq granted equipment for application development to leading researchers in the field and collaborated on optimizing performance on Compaq systems. Our expertise in running life sciences applications led to major expansion of our business in the late 1990s and enabled Compaq to play a key role in helping to map the human genome.
What is your vision for the development of the life sciences market?
Blake: The life sciences can have the same kind of transformational impact on our economy and on society at large as the electronics industry has had over the past 50 years. While much of the focus now is on new pharmaceutical targets, this impact should extend to environmental protection, new materials, and new computing technologies. We are at the beginning of some very exciting changes.
High-performance computing can accelerate the discovery and the introduction of new drugs and other products from the life sciences, but only if the computer industry creates new architectures that scale far beyond our previous targets.
What organizational assets have you developed to serve this community?
Blake: Compaq’s Life Sciences Solutions Group is dedicated to meeting the specific needs of this community. The group is headquartered in Marlboro, Mass., and has members located on the U.S. West Coast, in Europe, and in Asia. The group works with life sciences software developers to make sure we have a complete, well-integrated set of applications and with key customers to understand system requirements and appropriate configurations to meet their needs.
What products and services does your company provide to the life sciences market?
Blake: Life sciences customers buy the full range of Compaq products and services. For high-performance computing, no two organizations have exactly the same requirements. Compaq solutions generally include compute farms or clusters and supercomputers networked to data management servers and large-scale storage area networks. Compaq’s Professional Services Group also has a life sciences practice to assist customers in architecting computing infrastructure, and we are collaborating with Sandia National Laboratories on supercomputing architectures for the life sciences.
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