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IBM Donates BladeCenters for Grid Computing to the Technion

IBM Haifa Labs News Center

March 02, 2005

Haifa, Israel, February 28, 2004: -- In an effort designed to advance academic research and industry-university collaboration, IBM recently donated two BladeCenters worth nearly $200,000 to the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, based in Haifa, Israel. The two BladeCenter chassis, each of which includes 14 IBM blade servers, will provide grid computing and high performance computing capacity to the Computational Biology Lab and the Distributed Systems Lab at the Technion.

The grant was made to the Technion as part of the IBM Shared University Research (SUR) program. A worldwide equipment award program designed to promote research in areas of mutual value and interest to IBM and universities, the SUR program grants computer hardware to a select number of universities around the world each year.

The BladeCenters will be used in the Technion for high performance computing and for supporting the Israeli Academic Grid system. Hillel Kolodner, manager of the Systems and Management Technologies Group at the IBM Haifa Labs, noted that Technion researchers plan to use the BladeCenters primarily for work and research on underlying grid and scheduling infrastructure, and for a genetic analysis and linkage project, Pedtool, which will benefit from improvements to the Technion's computing infrastructure.

"The BladeCenters will serve as a powerful foundation for Pedtool, a Grid and Web services server and portal for chromosome analysis developed at the Technion's Computational Biology Lab," explained Kolodner, who has collaborated with Technion scientists on a number of projects and helped them obtain the IBM grant. "The IBM equipment will facilitate genetic research, and further the use of Pedtool by Israeli health centers."

Israeli hospitals have access to special groups of minorities with many inbred family ties. These families present a wealth of data regarding genetic diseases. A distributed program that uses Grid resource allocation tools, Pedtool enables advanced genome analysis that saves significant laboratory work. Several Israeli medical centers are already using the initial version of the Pedtool Web portal successfully, and the software has already identified gene locations for five diseases. In one case, these findings have translated to prenatal testing of affected families as part of their genetic counseling.

The BladeCenters at the Technion will help take this project to the next level. This type of work demands a huge amount of computing cycles, and the new equipment will allow a more efficient job scheduling of computing resources. The new IBM equipment will help make Pedtool available to all Israeli hospitals, and help develop the software into a Web service, allowing its integration in genetic applications worldwide.

The Technion will also use the BladeCenters to further the study of Grid computing. Such research includes all modern aspects of distributed and high-performance computing, from wireless networks to peer-to-peer and Grid environments.

Finally, the new BladeCenters will be used as a node on the Israeli Academic Grid. This will enable Technion researchers to use spare computing cycles on the Grid, and provide other Israeli academic grid users with more computing resources. In this way, the IBM grant will serve all researchers in Israel through the joint infrastructure and national resource sharing of the Israeli Academic Grid.

IBM Haifa Labs director Michael Rodeh noted that the Technion SUR grant also presents a great benefit for the Israeli hi-tech community.

"Projects such as these are helping to break down the barriers between academia and the industry," notes Rodeh. With business opportunities expanding in the Far East, this kind of close collaboration will help heighten the level of innovation in Israel to keep us ahead of the game."

The technology in the BladeCenters awarded to the Technion, Rodeh noted, is the same technology used in the largest and fastest computers in the world, which puts Israel at the forefront of technological advancements.

"At the same time," Rodeh added, "we need to remember: Equipment is just that - equipment. It's the people involved that make the difference."

About IBM Haifa Labs
R&D projects are being executed today by IBM Research Lab in Haifa (HRL) for most IBM labs in the USA, Canada and Europe, in areas such as storage systems, distributed computing, verification technologies, system availability, programming languages, application development environments, multimedia, information retrieval, active management, and life sciences. For more information, visit

About IBM Research
IBM Research is the world's largest information technology research organization with more than 3,000 scientists and engineers at eight labs in six countries. IBM has produced more research breakthroughs than any other company in the IT industry. For more information on IBM Research, visit

IBM's Shared University Research (SUR) program awards computing equipment (servers, storage systems, personal computing products, etc.) to colleges, universities, and institutions of higher education around the world to facilitate research projects in areas of mutual interest. The program focuses on such areas as the life sciences, grid computing, and autonomic computing. The SUR awards also support the advancement of university projects by connecting top researchers in academia with IBM Research personnel, along with representatives from produce development and solution provider communities. IBM awards approximately 40 SUR project per year worldwide.


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