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DBI named Sun Center of Excellence

The Delaware Biotechnology Institute has been named a Sun Center of Excellence by Sun Microsystems Inc.

The Delaware Biotechnology Institute is recognized as a Sun Center of Excellence. Pictured are, from left, Heinz Joerg Schwarz of Sun Microsystems; Guang R. Gao, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Delaware; Karl V. Steiner, associate director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute; Stefan Unger of Sun Microsystems; and Brian Hammond of Sun Microsystems

DBI, which is a partnership of the state government, industry and the University of Delaware and other institutions of higher education in the state, was selected for its leadership in computational biology and its potential to advance the field through research and partnerships with other institutions.

As a Sun Center of Excellence, the site will join the computer corporation's community of academic institutions developing advanced technology to do groundbreaking research.

Sun chose DBI as a Center of Excellence in high-performance computational biology in recognition of the organization's advanced work on protein structure and biological pathway simulations, as well as computerized detection of sequence repeats and SNPs, and whole genome comparisons.

“We are delighted that the Delaware Biotechnology Institute has been selected by Sun as a Center of Excellence in High-Performance Computational Biology,’ Karl V. Steiner, associate director of DBI, said. “This designation positions the University of Delaware and its faculty in very good company with other universities and institutes across the globe who are actively pursuing research in bioinformatics.”

Guang Gao, UD professor of electrical and computer engineering and the lead professor in bioinformatics at DBI, added, “We are very pleased to be recognized by Sun as a Center of Excellence. Not only does this give us the opportunity to work directly with Sun to further our biological research, it also links us into a rich network of complementary research institutions so that we can all benefit from each other's technological advances.”

Using Sun Fire 4800 servers, DBI is collaborating with the DuPont Co., AstraZeneca and Thomas Jefferson University, in addition to Sun, to create new databases and software for computational biology.

Steiner said that in 2001, DBI took possession of the first SunFire 4800 server delivered to an academic site. The SunFire database server features 12 750 MHz processors with two-gigabyte memory each and 1.3 terabytes of hard-disk storage.

The server is the centerpiece of the new bioinformatics core at DBI and is used to organize, assemble, store and analyze the vast amount of data that will be generated from research programs at the interface of biology, engineering, biochemistry and computer science, Steiner said.

Sun also chose the Beijing Genomics Institute, the leading genomics and bioinformatics center in China, as a Center of Excellence based on its advanced work in genomics, alternative splicing algorithms and proteomics.

“We are thrilled to be working with DBI and the Beijing Genomics Institute, two important leaders in bioinformatics. Through these collaborations, we will put Sun's technology to work at its fullest capacity, continuing to build the tools that can unlock important new discoveries,” Stefan Unger, business development manager for computational biology in Sun’s Global Education and Research Group, said.

Sun’s Center of Excellence program promotes open standards and collaboration to help build new technologies that advance academic research.

In addition to DBI and BGI, Sun has established centers of excellence in computational biology with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Calgary and the University of Technology in Aachen, Germany.

March 8, 2002