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Sun Micro Collaborates on Research Triangle

There is safety in numbers, or in this case, greater supercomputing power, says Sun Microsystems .

Furthering its research and development in high performance computing, Sun announced the formation of the 'Sun North Carolina Research Triangle Center of Excellence,' an academic alliance among seven prominent universities and institutions that have all made major contributions to bioinformatics and computational biology.

According to Sun, the Research Triangle, or COE as it is being generally referred to, was developed through the North Carolina Genomics and Bioinformatics Consortium, a newly launched project of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to help academic, industrial, and federal research laboratories within the state of North Carolina address issues related to genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics.

Sun's COE partners include Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Supercomputing Center, which provides the backbone for the North Carolina BioGRID project, SAS, and Incellico, a Sun science software partner.

One of the COE's primary purposes, according to Sun, is to provide students and researchers with the technological resources they need to advance academic growth, as well as provide a coordinated effort for training scientists and developing a collaborative computing environment between universities and corporations.

The COE will also reduce the overall cost of research for supercomputing, and over time, Sun will contribute a value of more than $6 million in computing hardware, software, and services.

Sun's choice of partners for the Research Triangle are no lightweights when it comes to their own research and development in computational biology, and Sun equipment has already played a crucial role in much of the Research Triangle's progress.

North Carolina State University has used Sun workstations for research in its Bioinformatics Research Center, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is using Sun equipment to research and create distributed bioinformatics systems that provide data resources and bioinformatics analysis tools to researchers in North Carolina, the United States, Canada, and Europe working on biomedical research projects.

Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy for programs in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, ethics, public policy and law will receive Sun equipment to deepen its research into the genetic and epidemiological basis of human disease. Duke's Center for Bioinformatics & Computational Biology will also use Sun equipment as the core of its bioinformatics laboratory.

Sun currently has eight other worldwide COE collaborations in computational biology and medical imaging, but the North Carolina Research Triangle represents the largest, multi-member COE to date for Sun.