Sandia signs biological computing R&D pact

Sandia signs biological computing R&D pact

By Patricia Daukantas

GCN Staff

JAN. 19—An Energy Department laboratory and a genetics research company today signed an agreement to develop superfast computers and algorithms for cutting-edge biological research.

Under a four-year cooperative research and development agreement, Sandia National Laboratories of Albuquerque, N.M., and Celera Genomics Corp. of Rockville, Md., will collaborate on technology that could achieve 100 trillion floating-point operations per second. Officials said the outside limit might eventually be 1,000 TFLOPS, or 1 petaFLOPS.

Subcontractor Compaq Computer Corp. will work with Sandia and Celera researchers to build massively parallel arrays of Compaq's Alpha processors. Compaq also has a contract with Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory to build a 30-TFLOPS supercomputer to simulate the aging of nuclear weapons. Celera uses Compaq computers in its gene-sequencing work.

'With new hardware and algorithms, we think we're going to push the frontier quite a bit forward,' Sandia director Paul C. Robinson said.

The Energy Department is investing about $10 million. Celera president J. Craig Venter said the agreement is 'in the multimillion-dollar range.'

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