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Supercomputer aids Canada cancer research


Canada’s fastest research supercomputer is helping search for more effective cancer treatments at the Ontario Cancer Institute. The new IBM system analyzes millions of images of proteins to identify those related to the disease and help design better treatments.

“We need to better understand the specific function and interactions of proteins that cause cancer,” said Dr. Igor Jurisica, who heads the research team. “This research will enable us to diagnose cancer earlier, before symptoms appear, to have the best chance of treating disease.”

Collaborating with the Ontario Cancer Institute are scientists at Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network and Buffalo’s Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute. Hauptman-Woodward has already conducted millions of experiments that have captured nearly 100 million images of 10,000 unique proteins, important to cancer and other diseases.

The new IBM System Cluster 1350 supercomputer can perform up to 12.5 teraflops (trillion calculations per second), making it one of the 400 fastest computers in the world. Its power will let researchers make better use of World Community Grid’s Help Conquer Cancer project. The Grid works on a network of approximately 1 million PCs and laptops using donated processing time. The resulting combined computing power is equivalent to one of the world’s top five fastest supercomputers.


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