Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rambus Inc. engineers increase your life expectancy?

It is happening now.

Mercury Computer Systems, in a press release this week, announced that it has collaborated with Boston University to deliver a biotech application on the Cell BE Processor. Cell BE has Rambus inside.

Snips from the press release: (emphasis added)

"This approach to drug design has the potential to revolutionize the cost and pace of new drug development," said Sandor Vajda, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. "With Mercury's hardware, software, and assistance in algorithm optimization, this method is more commercially viable."

Computational fragment-based drug design (FBDD) is a promising new approach in the pharmaceutical discovery and design industry that depends heavily on computer simulation (so-called in silico experimentation). FBDD simulates the chemistry and physics of molecular interactions in order to estimate how well potential drugs bind to their target proteins.

The collaboration has caused FBDD algorithms, which were primarily used for academic research, to become more commercially viable. This will enable biotech firms to use the newly created algorithms as a small molecule discovery and design platform. The team successfully migrated the FBDD computer simulation in progressive steps from a shared departmental Linux cluster running for weeks -- to a single Cell BE processor running for less than three minutes. . . the average computation time for the application running on the Cell BE processor is approximately 10 times faster than the same application running on a Blue Gene processor, in a chip-to-chip comparison.

. . . The efficiency achieved in the algorithm optimization and porting to the Cell BE processor is expected to enable new scientific opportunities that were unattainable with previous computational limitations.
Read the press release in its entirety linked here.

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