WILLIAM MARSH RICE UNIVERSITY
Rice University is proposing the acquisition of a 24 TeraFLOP Computational Biology Cluster, based on the new Intel Nehalem technology, and equipped with hybrid InfiniBand/GigE interconnect to support both tightly coupled MPI and loosely coupled high-throughput computations - a mix typically found in today's biomedical and bio-inspired computations. Rice currently does not have a computational resource dedicated to biomedical and bio-inspired research. The cluster will be purposed as a primary resource for development of code and conducting production runs in connection with NIH sponsored research at Rice University. As demonstrated in this proposal, Rice has a vibrant and expanding biomedical research community, especially in the area of computational bioscience. The 11 NIH-funded researchers included in this proposal collectively need in excess of 11,000,000 CPU hours per year to advance their current sponsored research. More importantly, a significant acceleration in the progress of this research is to be expected once the system is deployed. Other Rice researchers working on NIH-funded projects would also benefit from this facility. In effect, the proposed system will become a critical tool in studying complex biological phenomena, as well as creating new cures and discovering new drugs. Rice is currently increasing its research portfolio in the biological and biomedical sciences. It demonstrated its commitment to forging ahead in this area through its nearly $300,000,000 investment in the BioScience Research Collaborative, a 485,000 square foot biosciences research and education facility currently being constructed with occupation starting this year, planned as a locus of collaboration between Rice and the Texas Medical Center. Another effort was initiated in December 2008 with the signing of an MOU between Rice and Texas Children's Hospital (TCH) to develop a multi-institutional Biomedical Informatics Institute, which will comprise of TCH, Baylor College of Medicine and Methodist Research. Taken together, these recent undertakings reinforce Rice's central role in developing muliti-institutional collaborations across the Texas Medical Center in areas that integrate biomedical and computational research. The system proposed here will become a part of this collaborative framework to advance biomedicine. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Computation has come of age as a critical tool for scientific discovery across all disciplines, health care and biology being no exception. The proposed Computational Biology Cluster, which is planned as a core Rice University facility for computational biomedical research, will accelerate the progress of inquiry into a wide range of complex biological phenomena. At the same time it will become an indispensable tool in creating new cures and discovering new drugs and it will have significant impact on our already funded NIH research.