ICM's New Blue Gene Supercomputer Supports The Largest Biomedical Research Initiative In Poland

Thu Apr 4, 2013 3:42pm EDT

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Nostromo to bridge the gap between bench and practice
WARSAW, Poland, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE:  IBM) Blue Gene/Q, the
most powerful single architecture supercomputer in  Poland, has been chosen by
The Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modeling,
University of  Warsaw  (ICM) of  Poland  to support the country's largest
biomedical and biotechnological research initiative called, "Centre for
Pre-clinical Research and Technology (CePT)."  More than 500 life sciences and
biomedical researchers, physicians and students, from a consortium led by The
Medical University of  Warsaw  (WUM) and consisting of three universities and
seven research centers of the Polish Academy of Sciences, will use the
supercomputer and its supporting e-infrastructure to gain further insight into
chronic diseases.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130404/NY89105-INFO  )

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO  )

"CePT, a  EUR 100 million  project, aims to support  Poland's transition towards
more preventive and patient-centric healthcare," said Dr.  Robert Sot, Director
of CePT, Warsaw University.  "The project will allow the medical community to
provide a more holistic approach and open collaboration for the development of
innovative treatments and drugs that will improve patients' quality of life over
the long term."  

Estimations show that over one-fourth of  Poland's aging population has
developed at least one or, very often, more chronic diseases such as: cancer,
diabetes, heart disease, respiratory conditions, stroke, and neurological
disorders. Early detection and timely diagnosis of these diseases translate into
well-targeted and optimized healthcare, as well as improved quality of a
patient's life. Similar demands could stimulate the need to carry out clinical
and pre-clinical tests covering three to five million Polish citizens, and
generate massive volumes of valuable health data which can, in turn, be used by

ICM's new Blue Gene/Q, code named Nostromo, will help scientists process up to
16 terabytes of Big Data per one sequence by running compute-intensive
simulations at the speed of 209.7 trillion operations per second. The
supercomputer will use algorithms moving beyond the "routine" sequencing of
human or animal genomes, to tackle more complex processes that will reveal the
rare variants in human genetics, (i.e. those that cause predispositions to
Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, downs syndrome, etc.). By understanding what
prevents protein molecules, which build and maintain human bodies, from folding
up properly and triggering a disease, scientists will be able to develop a new
drug or treatment, (i.e. "build" their own molecules or block the action of
undesirable enzymes).  

"The process of developing and generating a new drug or treatment normally takes
up to three years, and costs have nearly quadrupled in the past 15 years," said
Prof.  Marek Niezgodka, Director of ICM. "With Nostromo, we expect to increase
the simulation speed which will bring us much closer to the era of "personalized
medicine," when preventative approaches can be tailored to a specific

Nostromo currently ranks N 143 on the Top500.org list and N 9 on Green500.org.
The system has already been installed by IBM Poland and Qumak SA, IBM's Business

"IBM delivered the most powerful single architecture supercomputer for the ICM
of Poland.  Nostromo is able to process up to 16 TB of Big Data per one sequence
by running simulations at the speed of 210 TFLOPS," said  Ales Bartunek, Country
General Manager, IBM Poland and Baltics. "We are confident that the POWER based
Blue Gene/Q has the potential to save years of research and help scientists take
healthcare in  Poland  to the next level."

About Nostromo

The IBM Blue Gene/Q system, based on POWER architecture, currently ranks N 143
on the Top500.org list and N 9 on the Green500.org. It runs at 209.7 trillion
operations per second (TFLOPS). Its ability to process Big Data is instrumental
for the faster isolation and analysis of genes and proteins, responsible for the
most common chronic lifestyle diseases. It can also be used to simulate new drug
development. The supercomputing's drug modeling, integrates mathematics,
physics, chemistry and biology with advanced, high performance computing and
engineering and has the potential to significantly reduce a new drug's time to
market by developing new procedures of drug design.

Blue Gene/Q (BG/Q) is the next evolutionary waypoint on IBM's HPC leadership
roadmap to ultra-scalability and ultra-reliability in a power-efficient,
space-saving platform for the most demanding grand challenge computational
science applications. It is the next logical step towards developing
technologies and architectures for exascale capable computing systems.

Reliability is one of the most critical issues facing ultrascale computing.  As
the number of processing elements continues to grow, those elements must show a
comparable increase in reliability in order to deliver a productive and useful
platform.  As with the previous generations of Blue Gene, the reliability of a
machine at this scale will be unparalleled.

The BG/Q design continues the remarkable legacy of its previous two Blue Gene
generations providing unmatched power efficiency. The Nostromo supercomputer is
by far the most energy efficient supercomputer in  Poland  and is among the top
ten on the Green500.

About ICM:  http://www.icm.edu.pl/web/guest/home

About CePT:  http://cept.wum.edu.pl/en/node/91

About IBM in  Poland:  www.ibm.com/pl

About IBM Blue Gene/Q: 

CONTACT:  Allyson McKenney, 1-914-766-4182,  amckenney@us.ibm.com


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