The Beagle Supercomputer Navigates the World of Biomedical Data

bannerWe’ve written a lot about how researchers at UChicago are using new computing techniques to solve complex medical challenges. One of the resources they’re using is the Beagle supercomputer, a 150-teraflop (i.e. very fast) computer that the Biological Sciences Division and Computation Institute launched in 2010. The Computation Institute hosted a Day of the Beagle symposium last week to highlight all of the research being done on this massive machine, including analyzing neural networks, improving cancer drugs and understanding the immune system. Rob Mitchum has more on the symposium at the CI’s Scale Out blog:

While biological data may have since transitioned from analog pages to digital bits, extracting knowledge from data has only become more difficult as datasets have grown larger and larger. To wedge open this bottleneck, the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division and the Computation Institute launched their very own Beagle — a 150-teraflop Cray XE6 supercomputer that ranks among the most powerful machines dedicated to biomedical research. Since the Beagle’s debut in 2010, over 300 researchers from across the University have run more than 80 projects on the system, yielding over 30 publications.

“We haven’t had to beat the bushes for users; we went up to 100 percent usage on day one, and have held pretty steady since that time,” said CI director Ian Foster in his opening remarks. ”Supercomputers have a reputation as being hard to use, but because of the Beagle team’s efforts, because the machine is well engineered, and because the community was ready for it, we’ve really seen rapid uptake of the computer.”

For more on the Computation Institute visit

About Matt Wood (531 Articles)
Matt Wood is a senior science writer and manager of communications at the University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences Division.
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