Pitt hits computing jackpot

It's always nice to be recognized, but especially so when the recognition comes in the form of high-end IBM hardware and software. The University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine received such recognition last week when it garnered a Shared University Research (SUR) Award from Big Blue.

Among the goodies: an IBM Power 575 water-cooled supercomputer running 32 POWER6 processor cores at 4.7GHz. The computational horsepower will serve researchers in multiple geographic locations via cloud computing interface. IBM stocked the solution with WebSphere middleware, DB2 database software, Rational development software, and Cognos software for collaboration and data, according to an announcement.

The principal investigator benefiting from the grant is Yoram Vodovotz, director for the institute's Center for Inflammation and Regenerative Modeling (CIRM), who is studying the role of immune-system-regulated inflammatory pathways in a variety of conditions. Vodovotz will use the gear to simulate molecular interactions in normal tissues and in tissues affected by disease.

"We aim to cover three bases: virtual clinical trials, personalized diagnostics, and rational drug or device design," he says in the announcement. "With these techniques, we could reduce the number of participants needed for human trials by creating some of them in silico; understand individual variation by exploring it in the digital world; and better visualize how the body responds when a drug or device enters it."

- here's the announcement