Public Release:  VBI, Convey Computer partner to deliver technology to biomedical, life sciences researchers

Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech will continue and expand its collaboration with high-performance computing (HPC) company Convey Computer as part of a new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.

"This partnership will usher in a paradigm shift in the way bioinformatics researchers process data by using Convey's hybrid-core platform and relevant technologies," said Harold "Skip" Garner, VBI executive director.

"Researchers are literally drowning in data," said Garner. "This grant allows us to leverage the most cutting-edge HPC technology to extract meaningful information from such a data-rich environment and move toward applications of lasting value for developers, bioinformaticians, and clinicians."

The $1 million project, funded through NSF's Strategic Technologies for Cyberinfrastructure (STCI) program, will be based on Convey's FPGA architecture. It will allow developers to track efficiency and usage patterns, and create cutting-edge tools that will be immediately deployed via web for researcher use. "Our Convey servers allow researchers to adapt architectures to emerging applications, which maximizes performance and provides impressive energy savings. Such technology attributes help scientists do more science, which can ultimately lead to incredible breakthroughs in the biosciences," said Bruce Toal, co-founder and CEO of Convey Computer.

Part of the program will fund a two-week summer institute for undergraduate students from a variety of diversity-rich partner institutions. This institute will give the students hands-on opportunities to train with developers and produce deliverables applicable to the project. The students will then have valuable experience necessary for building their future careers in science and engineering.

VBI has used Convey hybrid-core architecture on everything from policy informatics to gene annotation and sequencing. The institute's hybrid-core system, Shadowfax, features three Convey HC-1 systems in its configuration and is part of VBI's Partnership Supercomputing Program.

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About the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science, combining information technology, biology, and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today's key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology, and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world's scientific, governmental, and wider communities.

About Convey Computer

Based in Richardson, Texas, Convey Computer breaks power, performance, and programmability barriers with the world's first hybrid-core computer--a system that marries the low cost and simple programming model of a commodity system with the performance of a customized hardware architecture. Convey brings decades of experience and intellectual assets to performance problem solving. Its executive and design teams all come from successful backgrounds of building computer companies, most notably Convex Computer Corporation and Hewlett-Packard. Convey Computer investors include Braemar Energy Ventures, CenterPoint Ventures, Intel Capital, InterWest Partners, Rho Ventures, and Xilinx. More information can be found at: www.conveycomputer.com. For more information, contact Bob Masson (bmasson@conveycomputer.com) or Mary Dudley (mdudley@conveycomputer.com).

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