DOST activates IBM supercomputer

By Rainier Allan Ronda, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 15 2014 12:59 AM | Updated as of Apr 15 2014 08:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A supercomputer donated by IBM last year for research and development of local scientists has been activated by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the IBM Blue Gene supercomputer was made operational yesterday for the opening of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Core Facility for Bioinformatics (CFB) at UP Diliman, Quezon City.

Montejo said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration and Project Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) for weather forecasting and multi-year climate change modeling research would also use the supercomputer.

It was delivered to the country last November and installed at the National Computer Center at the University of the Philippines. Field-testing was started last January, the DOST said.

With the CFB opening, PGC executive director Carmencita David-Padilla said local scientists could now efficiently analyze and manage data from next generation sequencing research.

She said the facility would also strengthen their capabilities in research in bioinformatics and computational biology.

The PGC, a multidisciplinary institution that combines basic and applied research for the development of health diagnostics, therapeutics, DNA forensics and improved crop, aquaculture and animal varieties, opened in September its DNA sequencing core facility.

The CFB can give local researchers in academe, government institutions and private organizations access to services in genome-scale data generation and analysis.

Those who integrate genomic technologies into their operations require specialized computing services in which the CFB can provide genomic data storage and analysis, DOST said.

The data storage/backup will involve the provision of hard disk space in a secure enterprise-class computing infrastructure and value-added components like online user interfaces for easy data access, back-end databases designed for storage of genomic data in various formats and software and technical support for genomic data handling.

“Research with the help of the IBM Blue Gene would improve weather forecasts, disaster management, precision agriculture, and health,” said Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, IBM Philippines president and country manager.

The PGC was established to facilitate the translation of knowledge in genomics into applications beneficial to society.