Government, Corporate and Foundation Partnerships Funding UB's Rise to Prominence in Bioinformatics and Supercomputing

Release Date: September 3, 2002 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Dell supercomputer cluster unveiled today at the University at Buffalo is the result of a unique partnership between corporate, government and non-profit institutions that is establishing UB and the Buffalo Niagara region as a worldwide leader in supercomputing and bioinformatics.

"The generous support UB has received from New York State, the federal government, Dell Computer Corporation and the Oishei Foundation is further enhancing UB's status as a worldwide leader in academic supercomputing, and is providing the critical resources needed to establish the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics in the downtown Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus," said UB President William R. Greiner.

Over the past two years, Greiner noted, UB has received a $61 million commitment from Gov. Pataki for construction and equipment costs for the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics; $3.1 million in federal funds from separate congressional appropriations garnered by Rep. Thomas Reynolds and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and $2 million in additional New York State funds to support Jeffrey Skolnick, Ph.D., as director of the center; and $1.5 million from the Oishei Foundation. The cluster is valued at approximately $13 million.

"The announcement today of Dell's investment in the University at Buffalo is further proof that the State University of New York is attracting the corporate research dollars that will propel SUNY to the front ranks of American research universities," said SUNY Chancellor Robert L. King.

"Under Governor Pataki's leadership, the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics here at UB will continue to attract the excellent faculty and business support necessary to make the scientific breakthroughs that will benefit all Americans," added Chancellor King.

The new Dell cluster, which will support the pioneering research of Skolnick and his group and other scientists at the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, has a theoretical peak performance of 5.8 teraflops. (One teraflop is a measure of computing speed equal to one trillion floating-point operations per second.) The cluster provides a staggering 10-fold increase to the Center for Computational Research's computing power

Weighing more than 80,000 pounds, the cluster has a capacity to perform 5.8 trillion operations per second, and contains 4,120 Pentium processors, more than 2 trillion bytes of random access memory and 160 terabytes of storage. In terms of the number of commodity processors in a cluster, this is one of the largest Linux PC clusters in the world.

"The tremendous amount of computing capability that is available with these new Dell clusters provides scientists at UB, affiliated research institutions in Western New York, and industrial partners of CCR and the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, with unique opportunities to produce breakthrough science," said Russ Miller, Ph.D., UB Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and director of the CCR.

UB Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi noted that more than 50 UB scientists are currently engaged in bioinformatics research in the fields of genomics, proteomics, biophysics, biology, pharmaceutics, chemistry and computer science. Many of these scientists will utilize UB's supercomputers for their research, which ranges from molecular-structure determination and computational chemistry to materials science, bioimaging, pharmacokinetics and others.

Multidisciplinary teams at UB are working on critical questions that will determine how bioinformatics advances can be translated into commercial advances, such as the development of new and better pharmaceuticals. Science and technology developed at UB will be used in this effort to develop personalized medical treatments tailor-made to patients' genetic characteristics, and produce advances that further boost the power of techniques like combinatorial chemistry for additional drug development.

In addition, UB is the lead research partner in the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, working with Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute and other academic institutions.

The Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics is expected to produce a substantial impact on the economies of Western New York and upstate New York, creating thousands of jobs for the region, spinning-off new businesses developed from research projects at the center and luring new businesses to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, which is anticipated to grow around the center.

UB's new Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach will assist businesses and faculty interested in commercializing the intellectual property and scientific products of the center.

Media Contact Information

John Della Contrada
Vice President for University Communications
521 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
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