The University of Rochester is now one of the first academic homes in the nation for IBM's next generation supercomputer, designed to "make knowledge out of data". SWBR Architects designed the Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation with the University and completed the project in just 16 weeks.
"It will be one of the most, if not the most, powerful supercomputers dedicated to Health Science research in the world," says David Topham, director of HSCCI. He calls it "truly a new domain"for research, as supercomputing technology allows researchers to ask fundamentally different questions about health, creating "knowledge out of data." For example, researchers can input data to model the heart to test drugs' effects on the organ. The studies being carried out through HSCCI require many people, and a wide variety of expertise, says Topham. "I have pediatricians, infectious disease specialists, immunologists, neonatologists, researchers in genomics and microbiomics, computational people, data management - we have a huge data management core to deal with all that data." With the rise of big data, computer scientists take on a pivotal role in the research of many fields. In this lab, researchers are studying vaccines and immune responses, but the methodological advances they make could apply to cancer, to development, to cognition, they could apply to environmental questions.
"Developing new vaccines, imaging the brain better so that you can tailor treatment more effectively, understanding individual cells behavior in the brain or in the immune system - these are key questions that have just been lingering out there in the field. And now we have the technologies to study these things in ways we never did before." Topham says.
The space that the supercomputer requires is a shared center that supports 150 research groups across the University and more than 500 researchers.
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