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ICR Selects World's Fastest Supercomputer


Tuesday 26 January 2010


SGI (NASDAQ: SGI), a global leader in high performance computing (HPC) and data centre solutions, today announced that The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) has selected SGI® Altix® UV, based on Intel® Xeon® processors (codenamed Nehalem-EX), to support its future life-saving research. The ICR joins the growing list of globally significant HPC facilities embracing Altix UV as the future of open, high performance, big-memory supercomputing. Altix UV will provide the ICR with a massively scalable shared memory system to process its growing data requirements, including hundreds of terabytes of data for biological networks, MRI imaging, mass-spectrometry, phenotyping, genetics and deep-sequencing information across thousands of CPUs.


“The Altix UV supercomputer will allow extremely large, diverse data sets to be processed quickly, enabling our researchers to correlate medical and biological data on an unprecedented scale,” said Dr Rune Linding, cellular and molecular logic team leader at the ICR. “Eventually, this will lead to network-based cancer models that will be used to streamline the process of drug development.”


SGI Altix UV supports up to 16 terabytes of global shared memory in a single system image. It remains highly efficient at scale for applications ranging from in-memory databases to a diverse set of data and compute-intensive HPC applications. As a result, Altix UV is the only hardware solution equipped to meet the vast data processing requirements of the ICR.


“Altix UV will allow HPC customers like the ICR to think differently and solve problems that cannot be solved on other HPC platforms,” said Rod Evans, vice president of sales for Northern Europe at SGI. “We are delighted to be working with the ICR to provide this unique technology required to process the huge amounts of cancer-related data generated in medical research.”


“Systems biology demands massive integration of extremely large data sets. Large shared memory should enable us to handle such data at a much higher speed and with a greater focus on the biological questions at hand,” said Professor Peter Rigby, chief executive at the ICR. “Altix UV should significantly help our work in this new, exciting area of cancer research.”


"With its upcoming SGI Altix UV deployment, the ICR will be at the forefront of HPC for biological research as it pursues treatments for cancer,” said Richard Dracott, general manager of high performance computing at Intel. "Altix UV will meaningfully transform HPC by drawing on large memory capacity, high core count and scalability of our forthcoming next generation Intel® Xeon® processor-based server platform, for the expandable server segments (codenamed Nehalem-EX)."


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Note to editors: High-resolution photos of Altix UV are available for download at



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The Institute of Cancer Research 

  • The ICR is Europe’s leading cancer research centre.
  • The ICR has been ranked the UK’s top academic research centre, based on the results of the Higher Education Funding Council’s Research Assessment Exercise.
  • The ICR works closely with partner The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust to ensure patients immediately benefit from new research. Together the two organisations form the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Europe.
  • The ICR has charitable status and relies on voluntary income, spending 95 pence in every pound of total income directly on research.
  • As a college of the University of London, the ICR also provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction.
  • Over its 100-year history, the ICR’s achievements include identifying the potential link between smoking and lung cancer which was subsequently confirmed, discovering that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer and isolating more cancer-related genes than any other organisation in the world.

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Contact Information:

Johnson King, Jonathan Mathias and Fiona Halkerston, 020 7401 7968, [email protected]

Schwartz Communications, Inc., Gina Titus, 415-512-0770, [email protected]

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