March 12, 2007
Dr. Eng Lim Goh
Chief Technology Officer
How has your company adapted and responded to the changing economic climate in the past five years when so many others companies did not?
SGI has reorganized to be a more customer and market focused company, dedicating our resources on areas of true differentiation. We are also directing more effort to our relationships with ISVs and channel partners, and intend to be a better partner to them.
During this process we also aggressively pushed forward our product roadmap, resulting in the new SGI Altix XE line of x86-64 based servers and clusters, dual-core SGI Altix blade servers and supercomputers, and the new SGI InfiniteStorage NAS and SAN systems.
As we concentrate on solving customers’ problems, in our core technical markets, the new SGI business model is built around solutions that also help enterprises address the data proliferation underway. SGI solutions offer a compelling alternative to enterprises whose needs have moved beyond transaction processing.
What is your vision for the future of the life sciences market over the next several years?
Huge data and their transport within the various life sciences workflow will be the next major challenge for this market. Such data volumes can be attributed to instruments ranging from new high-speed, and therefore high-bandwidth, sequencing machines to two-photon microscopes.
What products and services does your company provide and what special capabilities do they offer the life sciences market?
SGI solutions for the life and chemical sciences market include SGI Altix family of scalable servers and supercomputers that leverage Intel Itanium 2 processors with Non Uniform Memory Architecture (NUMA). The latter simplifies software development, workload management, and system administration to enable scientists to focus on science, not computer science. It is also a highly effective platform for running computational chemistry codes.
SGI Altix XE servers and clusters, powered by dual-core Intel Xeon processors running industry-standard Linux or Microsoft Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, delivers superior performance in an ultra-dense low-power package, ideally suited for configuring clusters with optimal price-performance and low TCO. This platform is also suitable for running a range of computational biology codes.
Scientists require that the time to get from data collection to insight be minimized. SGI InfiniteStorage, together with the above platforms, forms solutions that enable these scientists to effectively ingest, process, analyze, visualize and archive massive amounts of complex data. The result is increased productivity while controlling the cost of rapidly expanding computing infrastructure.
Partnerships are an effective way to track life science advances and ensure that your company delivers timely products and services. Which life sciences companies or organizations have you partnered with or invested in and why?
Amber, Accelrys, Mitrionics BLAST, FASTA (Smith-Waterman), GAMESS US, Gaussian, HMMER, and NAMD are among the leading software development companies and most widely used computational chemistry and computational biology software tools that are available for use on the SGI Altix family servers and clusters. This growing list of partners is a testimony to the rapidity with which SGI Altix has been embraced by the life and chemical sciences community.
What are your most exciting products and initiatives in development, and how will they improve life science research?
SGI RASC technology leverages the power of FPGA, which utilize gate array technology that can be reconfigured by the user, for optimal performance on a specific set of algorithms. FPGAs are inherently parallel, allowing multiple functions to be performed simultaneously. Therefore, users whose application spends the majority of run time operating on a well defined set of algorithms, can dramatically increase overall application performance by custom configuring the RASC module to those alogrithms. This reconfigurable technology is particularly beneficial when running data-intensive applications critical to bioinformatics.
For example, BLAST is used by scientists and researchers worldwide for similarity searches on genes and proteins, and is the main tool for data mining of large databases in molecular biology. Mitrionics makes the BLAST application available, at no charge, to customers of its Mitrion Virtual Processor on SGI systems. The combination of Mitrionics’ C-like programming environment with reprogrammable FPGA technology creates a highly flexible solution that can be used for a number of different applications, by simply loading application specific code into the FPGA when each application runs. Scientists and researchers can begin realizing the tremendous benefits of performance acceleration and lower power requirements made possible with the Mitrion Virtual Processor and SGI RASC systems.
Where do you see your company in five years?
We aim to be the top provider of high-performance and high-productivity computing systems and storage infrastructure solutions for life sciences research and production.