Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NSF-funded Superhero Supercomputer Helps Battle Autism

27.03.2013
'Gordon,' a supercomputer with unique flash memory, helps identify gene-related paths to treating mental disorders
When it officially came online at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) in early January 2012, Gordon was instantly impressive. In one demonstration, it sustained more than 35 million input/output operations per second--then, a world record.

Input/output operations are an important measure for data intensive computing, indicating the ability of a storage system to quickly communicate between an information processing system, such as a computer, and the outside world. Input/output operations specify how fast a system can retrieve randomly organized data common in large datasets and process it through data mining applications.

Supercomputer Gordon uses massive amounts of flash memory to retrieve randomly organized data.

The supercomputer's record-breaking feat wasn't a surprise; after all, Gordon is named after a comic strip superhero, Flash Gordon.

Gordon's new and unique architecture employs massive amounts of the type of flash memory common in cell phones and laptops--hence its name. The system is used by scientists whose research requires the mining, searching and/or creating of large databases for immediate or later use, including mapping genomes for applications in personalized medicine and examining computer automation of stock trading by investment firms on Wall Street.

Commissioned by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2009 for $20 million, Gordon is part of NSF's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, or XSEDE program, a nationwide partnership comprising 16 high-performance computers and high-end visualization and data analysis resources.

"Gordon is a unique machine in NSF's Advanced Cyberinfrastructure/XSEDE portfolio," said Barry Schneider, NSF program director for advanced cyberinfrastructure. "It was designed to handle scientific problems involving the manipulation of very large data. It is differentiated from most other resources we support in having a large solid-state memory, 4 GB per core, and the capability of simulating a very large shared memory system with software."

Last month, a team of researchers from SDSC, the United States and the Institute Pasteur in France reported in the journal Genes, Brain and Behavior that they used Gordon to devise a novel way to describe a time-dependent gene-expression process in the brain that can be used to guide the development of treatments for mental disorders such as autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.

The researchers identified the hierarchical tree of coherent gene groups and transcription-factor networks that determine the patterns of genes expressed during brain development. They found that some "master transcription factors" at the top level of the hierarchy regulated the expression of a significant number of gene groups.

The scientists' findings can be used for selection of transcription factors that could be targeted in the treatment of specific mental disorders.

"We live in the unique time when huge amounts of data related to genes, DNA, RNA, proteins, and other biological objects have been extracted and stored," said lead author Igor Tsigelny, a research scientist with SDSC as well as with UC San Diego's Moores Cancer Center and its Department of Neurosciences.

"I can compare this time to a situation when the iron ore would be extracted from the soil and stored as piles on the ground. All we need is to transform the data to knowledge, as ore to steel. Only the supercomputers and people who know what to do with them will make such a transformation possible," he said.

This research is one of a number of high-value projects being conducted at SDSC with Gordon. More information is available in the attached video.

Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF (703) 292-8485 bmixon@nsf.gov
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF (703) 292-8311 lzgorski@nsf.gov
Warren Froelich, San Diego Supercomputer Center (619) 534-8564 froelich@sdsc.edu
Program Contacts
Barry I. Schneider, NSF (703) 292-7383 bschneid@nsf.gov
Principal Investigators
Igor Tsigelny, San Diego Supercomputer Center (858) 822-0953 itsigelny@ucsd.edu
Related Websites
Gordon Achieves World Record for Input/output Operations: http://www.sdsc.edu/Gallery/vd_GordonDebut.html
SDSC’s Gordon Supercomputer Used in 61-Million-Person Facebook Experiment: http://www.sdsc.edu/News%20Items/PR092012_fb_vote.html

Researchers Use Gordon to Reveal Behaviors of the Tiniest Water Droplets: http://www.sdsc.edu/News%20Items/PR081512_water_behavior.html


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget is $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards nearly $420 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Bobbie Mixon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Easier Diagnosis of Esophageal Cancer
06.03.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance
27.02.2017 | DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA laser communications to provide Orion faster connections

30.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study

30.03.2017 | Studies and Analyses

Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos

30.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>