Thursday, 11 February 2010 16:25

IBM and University of Melbourne in life science collaboration

A collaboration between the Victorian Life Sciences Computational Initiative (VLSCI) and the IBM Research Computational Biology Center will see a Blue Gene supercomputer installed at the University of Melbourne.

The Life Sciences Research Collaboratory at the University of Melbourne will be one of the biggest life science labs in the world, according to an IBM spokesperson.

The facility will bring together Melbourne's substantial community of life sciences and medical researchers and IBM's computational biology experts.

The Blue Gene/P supercomputer used for much of the collaboratory's work will be based at the University of Melbourne's main Parkville campus, said Victorian Premier John Brumby.

"The Victorian Life Sciences Computational Initiative will provide Victoria's researchers with the necessary tools to solve some of the biggest challenges facing our health system and impacting our quality of life," he said.

Specialist areas of research are expected to include medical imaging and neuroscience, clinical genomics, structural biology, and integrated systems biology.

More on the collaboratory on page 2.

The centre's facilities may be used to analyse data collected at the Melbourne synchrotron, which is located adjacent to Monash University's Clayton campus.

University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Glyn Davis said "The outcome of this partnership will be a significant strengthening of the research capabilities of Victoria's life sciences researchers and a dramatic expansion of their capacity to carry out world-class life sciences research right here in Melbourne."

Tilak Agerwala, vice president, IBM Research, said "At IBM, we believe that giving our researchers the opportunity to go outside of the walls of our labs and collaborate with other institutions will further the reach and impact of our research."

"As the largest IBM Research collaboration in life sciences, the Victorian Life Sciences Computational Initiative holds great potential for driving new breakthroughs in the understanding of human disease and translating that knowledge into improved medical care, and gives IBM Research the opportunity to expand the impact of our Computational Biology Centre," added Agerwala.

The collaboratory should be fully operational before the end of the year. It will be the sixth of its kind, with the others in Dublin, Ireland; Shenyang, China; Shanghai, China; Taipei, Taiwan; and Hyderbad, India.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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