[ASC-media] CSIRO Media Release - Boost for Biotech Research

Bill.Stephens at csiro.au Bill.Stephens at csiro.au
Tue Mar 18 14:51:32 EST 2003

18 March 2003
Ref. 03/48
(Embargoed until 9.45 am, Wednesday 19 March 2003)
New drugs, 'green' chemicals, more productive animals and superior crops are just some of the outcomes expected from Australia's largest dedicated bioinformatics computer cluster launched today by the Minister for Science, the Hon Peter
McGauran MP. 
Based in Canberra, CSIRO's Bioinformatics Facility (CBF) is a computer cluster that will be used for a range of research tasks from screening chemical compounds to identify potential pharmaceutical drugs through to identifying plant and
animal genes to improve sustainable agricultural production. 
"Bioinformatics - or the storage and analysis of biological information such as plant genes - is central to much of CSIRO's research," says CSIRO's Dr Liz Dennis, Joint Director of the CBF with Dr Peter Willadsen, CSIRO.
"The CBF will provide for much more efficient management of information on genes and other biological resources thereby enabling CSIRO researchers across Australia to share data and speed up analysis," Dr Dennis says.
The CBF will also facilitate projects to: develop medical diagnosis and prevention strategies using the human genome; identify genes to help with environmentally sound control of pests like rabbits and certain insects; improve production of
environmentally safe chemicals; and, study the genomes of animals. 
"Thanks to the collaborative efforts of 12 CSIRO Divisions, the CBF has become a multi-functional tool capable of meeting a diverse array of research requirements," says Dr Dennis.
"CSIRO has made a significant investment in bioinformatics under its Biotechnology Strategy, to build on CSIRO's strengths across the breadth of its research."
The CBF is the first to use Dell's new blade or 'mini-server' technology, which allows the CBF to manage data through individual blades talking to each other at high speed. In total, 66 blades are networked together in a cluster
configuration, which deliver a processing capability equivalent to more than 130 desktop computers.
"This will allow us to generate information and use it for practical outcomes faster than we have ever been able to before," Dr Dennis says.
More information on CSIRO's Bioinformatics Facility available at:www.csiro.au/cbf
Media assistance
Sophie Clayton, CSIRO Plant Industry                                   02 6246 5139, 0418 626 860
                                                                                                sophie.clayton at csiro.au 

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