A new computing center that will provide life scientists with access to high-performance hardware and a software consulting service has been established by the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, the Universities of Lausanne, Geneva, and Basel, l'Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Lausanne, in collaboration with Intel Corporation and Hewlett-Packard (HP).

Inaugurated last Thursday (April 22), the Lausanne-based Vital-IT center is equipped with two HP clusters of 32 production and 8 development servers, based on Intel's Itanium 2 processor. These kinds of clusters allow life scientists to run complicated software 10 to 50 times faster, thereby opening new research avenues, says Christos Ouzounis at the European Bioinformatics Institute. “You can think of problems that you could not think of otherwise if you had a limited computational capacity,” he told The Scientist.

The impact of the new computing power may soon be felt...

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