BLACKSBURG, Va., May 14, 2003 - Researchers at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech now do genome-to-genome comparisons at a much faster rate with the Institute’s newly installed TimeLogic™ DeCypher® system, a configurable system which speeds up computational tasks. VBI’s newly installed TimeLogic™ DeCypher® system is the world’s largest academic installation and speeds over 30 types of bioinformatics searches.
The system, composed of six hardware accelerators, quickens the analysis of DNA sequences allowing scientists to understand the actual biological function of DNA much faster and more economically. This technology will be used at VBI to study the evolutionary genetics of organisms and the genetic basis of human, animal, and plant diseases.
"Disentangling the genetic roots of complicated diseases -- such as malaria, Alzheimer's, and tuberculosis (TB) -- requires the examination of extremely large data sets," explained Dr. Bruno Sobral, VBI director. "TimeLogic's DeCypher solution, implemented within the Institute’s Sun Microsystems Sun Fire 15K supercomputer, delivers powerful bioinformatics analysis capabilities that allow broad comparisons among numerous biological systems," he added.
Researchers are now able to do DNA sequence comparison against databases and whole genome comparisons at a much faster rate with the system," said Dr. Allan Dickerman, research faculty at VBI. According to Dustin Machi, manager of the core computational facility at VBI, "the Decypher system uses a type of silicon chip known as a Field Programmable Gate Array that is reconfigured to optimally speed each analysis compared to other chips. This increase in efficiency will result in dramatic time and cost savings for researchers. We’re excited to explore the additional capabilities of the system and expect dramatic speed gains for other bioinformatics applications."
"Genomics researchers utilize a tremendous range of data sources, all which are growing at a dramatic rate. For core computing centers, DeCypher provides an ideal solution for the analysis of huge data sets due to its exceptional speed and operational efficiency," remarked Rick MacDonald, President and CEO for TimeLogic. "Considering the large scale analyses being conducted at VBI, DeCypher’s time savings will translate into significant cost savings for their research."
Regardless of the increase in computing power over the past thirty years, this growth has been unable to surpass the rapid growth in genome data. Indicators show as much as an eight-fold increase in genome data within an 18-month time frame, surpassing the historical doubling of computer power within the same time frame as predicted by Moore’s Law. With the advances in bioinformatics technology, experiments now require more sophisticated systems and tools to manage and analyze data. The DeCypher system will now be available to the research community via VBI.
VBI research platform centers on understanding the "disease triangle" of host-pathogen-environment interactions. With bioinformatics, an interdisciplinary merger of information technology and biology, faculty researchers at VBI have been able to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research. With over $27 million in research funding, VBI researchers are working to find cures for many diseases of humans, crops, and animals; create high-yield, insect- and disease-resistant crops; and provide bioinformatics information and tools to support further discoveries. For more information, visit https://www.vbi.vt.edu.
TimeLogic produces DeCypher, the leading-edge solution for high throughput computation within life science research. Computationally intensive bioinformatics algorithms—including BLAST, Smith-Waterman, Framesearch and Hidden Markov Model analysis—are critical for genomic research and drug target identification. Reconfiguring on-the-fly to process different algorithms for over 30 types of bioinformatics analysis, DeCypher brings near real-time performance to informatics research and enables researchers to employ compound techniques for comprehensive scientific results. DeCypher has been accelerating the pace of bioinformatics discovery at top biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and agribusiness and academic institutes since 1996. Media Contact: Christopher Hoover, Director of Marketing, 775-832-3104,
May 13, 2003