IBM and Accelrys Partner on New Drug Research Platform

by Heather Mead

On January 7, IBM and Accelrys, Inc. announced they are partners in a new life sciences program dedicated to drug research and development. Together they will deliver a new technology platform that will shorten the development cycle for new drugs. IBM eServer xSeries systems running Linux and NT, eServer Cluster 1300 Linux systems and eServer p690 systems running AIX will be used for software development, testing and management applications. All resulting software will run on Linux, UNIX and NT machines.

The first step of the program will be delivering the Discovery Studio platform for new drug research, development, testing and all other phases of the discovery process. A key feature of Discovery Studio is its ability to capture and reuse data across the board, whether the original data comes from in-house or third-party software. This needed capability was the reason Accelrys chose to partner with IBM, according to Dr. Michael Stapleton, COO and executive vice president of Accelrys. "We chose IBM as our technology partner because of their commitment to the market we serve and their strength in high-performance computing, software and services," he said.

With a projected dramatic growth of life science and bioscience IT software and solutions in the next few years, the pharmaceutical industry is becoming "a major catalyst for growth in high-performance technical computing" in the same way that defense and manufacturing industries were catalysts to the growth of computer simulation and modeling applications in years past, said Debra Goldfarb of International Data Corporation.

The eServer Cluster 1300 runs on Red Hat and, depending on node type, has up to a 1.26GHz Pentium III processor, 1- or 2-way; 512KB L2 cache; two or five PCI expansion slots; and 10/100Mbps Ethernet connectivity. One management node is required in the cluster, with a range of four to 128 cluster nodes possible. The Cluster 1300 system uses the General Parallel FileSystem (GPFS), and cluster management is achieved with CSM for Linux.

Heather Mead is Associate Editor of Linux Journal.

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