HP to kit out new Systems Biology CSET with storage tech

7 Oct 2009

Computer giant HP is collaborating with Systems Biology Ireland, the new €15-million Government-backed research centre focused on providing a powerful new way to use the strength of computers and mathematics to understand biology.

Last month, it emerged that the Irish Government is investing €14.8 million over the next five years in a new Systems Biology Ireland Research Centre led by UCD that will make Ireland a leader in the consolidation of computing, maths and biology and could prove vital to attracting foreign direct investment in the years ahead.

The new computing centre could also make Ireland a vital contributor in the fight against cancer and the race to find a cure for the deadly disease.

The SBI research program, enabled by HP scale-out storage technology, seeks to unravel the complexities of cells through the use of models that predict biological behaviour.

Modern life sciences research is data intensive, generating considerable amounts of information that needs to be stored, managed and retrieved in an instant. SBI is using the multipetabyte storage capacity of the HP StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage (ExDS9100) system to improve the efficiency of research processes.

“The research being undertaken by SBI will aid the development of new treatments for medical conditions, including various cancers, and allow for better therapies to be delivered faster and more effectively to patients,” said David Medina, executive lead, Worldwide Life Sciences and Pharma Segment, HP.

“The HP ExDS9100 helps make the SBI program possible by driving efficiency in research and dramatically reducing the complexity and cost of storage.”

The HP ExDS9100 allows customers to easily manage large amounts of data, save data-centre space and lower costs.

For customers needing high levels of scalability, such as SBI, the ExDS9100 can hold up to 16 BladeSystem c-Class server blades with hundreds of terabytes of storage capacity. To save administrative time, the ExDS9100 features a single management interface that allows complete visibility to the performance utilisation and capacity of servers and storage within the system.

“The next phase of discoveries in biomedical research will be at the nexus of technology, computation, chemistry, modelling and biology,” said Prof Walter Kolch, director, Systems Biology Ireland, University College Dublin. “Extending beyond our storage needs, our collaboration with HP includes engaging knowledgeable people who understand our business and this complex industry. By working with HP and other organisations around the world, we can help speed up the experimentation process and reduce the number of years it takes to develop a new drug therapy.”

The SBI research program is a collaboration among industry and academic organisations, including Agilent Technologies, Ark Therapeutics, HP, Protagen AG, Science Foundation Ireland, Servier, Siemens Ireland and University College Dublin.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Director general of Science Foundation Ireland, Prof Frank Gannon, with Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Conor Lenihan TD, and Prof Walter Kolch, director, Systems Biology Ireland, at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin.

Photo by Conor McCabe of Jason Clarke Photography.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years