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Decoding the Genome: Serious Infrastructure

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the mine-decodes-to-'not-a-winner-try-again' dept.

Supercomputing 175

Roland Piquepaille writes "The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the largest genomics data centers in the world. In "The Hum and the Genome," the Scientist writes about the IT infrastructure needed to handle the avalanche of data that researchers have to analyze. With its 2,000 processors and its 300 terabytes of storage, the data center uses today about 0.75 megawatts (MW) of power at a cost of 140,000 per year (about $170K). But the data center will need more than a petabyte of storage within three years, and its yearly electricity bill will reach 500,000 (more than $600K) for about 1.4 MW, enough to power more than a thousand homes. The original article gets all the facts, but this summary contains all the essential numbers."

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lol (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744815)

Fristage psotnage is mine!

Timecop is a fag.

LEEEEEEROY JENKINS IS ON TEH SPOKE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745199)

LETS DO THIS

Roland (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744817)

What's the deal wiht this roland guy

Re:Roland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744880)

He gets a shitload of ad revenue from slashdot due to him linking to his own site in every fucking story he posts here. And like by magic, every fucking story he posts is accepted by the "editors".

Re:Roland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744964)

How do you know every submitted article is accepted?

We only see his ACCEPTED submissions.

Re:Roland (5, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744894)

What's the deal wiht this roland guy

They're trying to decode his genome to find the missing link.

Which will lead to his website, of course.

Re:Roland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744941)

MOD PARENT UP!!!
I'm still in stiches

Re:Roland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744921)

DO NOT CLICK ON THE SUMMARY.

It leads to primidi.com, which is his 'blog'. If nobody goes to his site, he gets no money.

Re:Roland (2, Funny)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745504)


Awww, he's just French... =)

frist pork! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744822)

FP BIOTCHS!@#~ i rule

Re:frist pork! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744837)

no, YOU FUCKING FAIL IT YOU FUCKING FAILURE. I SPIT ON FAILURES LIKE YOU. I GOT THE REAL FIRST POST, AND I ACTUALLY KNOW THE TOUCH OF A WOMAN YOU FAGGOT FAILURE.

Timecop's a fag and a failure among the likes of you.

I hear it's amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with a tuning fork does a raw blink on Harry Carry rock! I need scissors!! 61!!!

Imagine... (1, Funny)

Ray Alloc (835739) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744825)

A beowulf cluster of these... Oh, wait, never mind!

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745576)

BWAHAHA!! OMG WTF LMAO.

lameness filter counterattack for all those caps..

Yea baby (0, Offtopic)

DinX (889750) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744827)

Rrrrrr ... I love it when you talk dirty

Breaking news from our reporter Roland Piquepaille (5, Funny)

JamesD_UK (721413) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744828)

Lots of computers use lots of power which costs lots of money!

Some computers use more power and do less (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744953)

I don't know which is the best in the ix86 market at the moment, possibly Via, possibly Intel, used to be Transmeta.

It's one of the things many geeks tend not to consider when they're dreaming up their ideal ultra powerful, ultra cheap beowulf cluster. The fact that you need a megaWatts worth of power and a megaWatts worth of cooling to go along with those $400 1U high density servers running the latest 4GHz AMD CPUs. Suddenly those cheap servers don't look so cheap.

Re:Some computers use more power and do less (2, Informative)

jordie (604519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745590)

Good to see you've got your facts straight before you posted.

AMD does not have a CPU running anywhere NEAR 4GHz, you're thinking of Intel.

As far as power consumption..
"Even the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ consumes less power than all single core 90nm Pentium 4 CPUs" - Anandtech

For more information please see this [anandtech.com] and this [anandtech.com]

For less power, better performance use AMD.

Re:Breaking news from our reporter Roland Piquepai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744961)

Right, I'm not going to this fuckwit's blog. Can anyone tell me what sort of kit they're using?

Re:Breaking news from our reporter Roland Piquepai (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745004)

Quit badmouthing my man Roland! He provides a valuable service to slashdot, and he even gave me a blowjob for only $10! Roland will do ANYTHING for many, god bless his 'im.

Re:Breaking news from our reporter Roland Piquepai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745147)

FUCK OFF TIMOTHY

Re:Breaking news from our reporter Roland Piquepai (2, Funny)

matt me (850665) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745013)

enough to power 1000 homes with the equivalent power of distributed computing software?

probably not.

Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745126)

Is he digitally signed ?

Amazing! (2, Funny)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744831)

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is amazing it will-

- optimize seamless communities
- generate vertical e-services
- everage synergistic convergence

and best of all

- engage e-business content Perfect solution

Re:Amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745091)

with hardware like that it could probably do all of the above.... *AC's head explodes*

Re:Amazing! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745307)

The Trust also believes that the basic DNA sequence of humans and other organisms as such should be placed in the public domain as soon as is practical, without any fees, patents, licences or limitations on use, giving free and equal access to all. Subject to this, the Trust is supportive of patents encompassing genes and their products when there is research data or information indicating that a particular DNA sequence has a utility such that the legal criteria for patenting can be met.

Exactly the same bullshit is used by European software patent proponents when they say that "software 'as such' will not be patentable". It's such a victory for the public that the wellcome trust does not support patents on DNA sequences, just the practical application of those sequences.

Wellcome trust, bunch of halfwits or deceptive front for big business? You decide.

Decoding the gnome? (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744833)

I misread that and thought it involved a spotlight and torture methods to a poor garden gnome :(

"You will tell us what we need to know. WHERE IS THE LAWN MOWER!"

Re:Decoding the gnome? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745190)

How about decoding KDE?

That's... interesting (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744834)

I think I'm immune to large numbers. This article summary has absolutely no effect on me whatsoever.

Who owns the results? (5, Interesting)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744841)

The idea behind all this mapping is to find genetic sequences that can be used to mend ailing people. Using a computer to throw every single combination possible against the wall and seeing what sticks is certainly a way to go about this, but it also raises the spectre of a single large company owning all these combinations. This wouldn't be such a terrible thing if there was some sort of actual science involved, but by brute-forcing results, they are doing nothing more complicated than running a counting program with an infinite number of bits.

So each result is directly traceable to a number. Will these companies own these numbers? Can you even take out a patent on a number? In the DeCSS case, it was argued that the decoding algorithm was protected even though some implementations of it were nothing more than a carefully crafted prime number.

I don't like the idea of someone owning numbers any more than I think someone should be entitled to the fruits of their own work. This whole patent "creation/reward" system is getting turned on its head because of the power of computers. What would have been prohibitive even 10 or 15 years ago is possible (even easy) now. How can we keep our rights without sacrificing the progress of science and the arts?

Re:Who owns the results? (3, Informative)

Hittite Creosote (535397) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744954)

The centre is funded by the Wellcome Trust and the UK's Medical Research Council. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is a non-trading, non-profit making registered charity. And they tend to make their results open - these are the people who said that the genome should belong to no one individual or company. In other words, if you want to keep your rights without sacrificing the progress of science - we need more places like the Sanger centre.

Re:Who owns the results? (5, Informative)

Gurdy (155196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744962)

> "it also raises the spectre of a single large company owning all these combinations."

You might be interested to read our data release policy http://www.sanger.ac.uk/Projects/release-policy.sh tml [sanger.ac.uk] which describes how the finished data is made publicly available, to all, no charge.

(I work at the Sanger Centre.)

Dave

Re:Who owns the results? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745455)

A lot of the analysis software used is also freely availible as it most of the web display code

http://www.ensembl.org/ [ensembl.org]

another sangerite

Re:Who owns the results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745575)

Also check out

http://www.sanger.ac.uk/software/ [sanger.ac.uk]

Re:Who owns the results? (2, Informative)

dan dan the dna man (461768) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744977)

Well the nice thing about the Wellcome Trust is that they are an independent charity and the largest non-corporate non-governmental source of biomedical research funding in the UK.

Maybe you'd like to read their constitution: here [wellcome.ac.uk]

Sure theres a chance that things can get tied up in the hands of companies - but lets look at the human genome project. The best data came out of the academic sector, the private data (held by Celera) didn't turn out to be too profitable after all (or even better quality) and is now in the public domain. I worry about the commercialisation of science as much as the next man, but lets face it, business just doesn't care unless there's a drug to sell at the end. Data is still just data.

Re:Who owns the results? (1)

Petersson (636253) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745120)

This wouldn't be such a terrible thing if there was some sort of actual science involved, but by brute-forcing results, they are doing nothing more complicated than running a counting program with an infinite number of bits.

This way of genome decoding is much more spectacular. It attracts investors. And doing it the hard way will definitely bring some results.

But bunch of boring sciencists, writing boring equations, can also result in zero success. On the other hand it could save whole lotta money for power, hardware and time. But it's bit risky.

And when the job is finished, this cluster will become national monument.

ways to earn money (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744842)

two words...
lawn ge-nomes...

I know plenty of old people that would buy a couple.. especially if they are as helpfull as that travelocity fellow.

Overkill (0)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744844)

With its 2,000 processors and its 300 terabytes of storage, the data center uses today about 0.75 megawatts (MW) of power at a cost of 140,000 per year (about $170K)

I just use 11 stone of meat and goop to deal with that very same data. It's been running 24 hours a day for 30 years now with no serious bugs... Yet...

Re:Overkill (1)

hjo3 (890059) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744865)

> Unfortunately, I am not Wil Wheaton [slashdot.org]. Thank god. I don't think I'd want to live in a world with two of him.

Re:Overkill (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745074)

Thank god. I don't think I'd want to live in a world with two of him.

Really, there wouldn't be any decent ST: TNG episodes if that were the case... :-)

Exchange Rate (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744846)

I wish I could get the submitters exchange rate. I'd be rich rich rich. It's currently around 1.9 dollars to the pound meaning anual running costs are more line $260k which could rise to around $1m.

Having said that everything is cheaper on the US side of the pond so the submitter is probably about right. Sigh.

Re:Exchange Rate (1)

smithberry (714364) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744878)

I think the prices quoted are Euros.
Currently 1 Euro = 1.23 USD, so I think the article is about right.

Re:Exchange Rate (1)

Gwyn_232 (585793) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744978)

The trouble is, the poster was too lazy to a) look up the ascii code for or b) type EUR in front of the figures (as in EUR400,000).
Both sterling and euros are used when quoting costs in Britain.

Re:Exchange Rate (1)

Gwyn_232 (585793) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744989)

Ok, I'll revise that

The trouble is, Slashdot is too shit to handle the Euro symbol.

Re:Exchange Rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745034)

€, €, €.

Re:Exchange Rate (1)

Gwyn_232 (585793) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745061)

, , It may be that it can't handle if it's a euro keyboard (like mine is)

Re:Exchange Rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745103)

The trouble is, Slashdot is too shit to handle the Euro symbol.

Huh? You mean you can't put in a euro symbol?

Re:Exchange Rate (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745230)

Ways to put the Euro symbol in webpages:
  • Hex code 0xA4 (decimal 164) in codepage 8859-15 is what you get when you press AltGr+e. This happens to be the general currency symbol in 8859-1, so it's not a good choice if you can't make sure that the document comes with the correct encoding declaration. ""
  • HTML entity € "€"
  • Unicode character reference € ""
  • Hexadecimal unicode character reference € ""
As you can see, Slashcode filters all but the html entity, so that's your only choice here if you have to have the symbol. Most people simply use EUR.

Re:Exchange Rate (1)

anaplasmosis (567440) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744890)

Those are Euro, not Sterling.

mar3e (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744862)

Are y0u a NIGGER Numbers continue schemes. Frankly [theos.com] on his has significantly from the sidelines,

Enough to power a thousand homes (2, Interesting)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744864)

Doing some quick math here: 2000 processors+1petabyte, divide by 1000=
2 processors + 1TB per house.
In processors: Way past it
In storage: Getting there (quick count of harddisks lying around= 750GB at least)

Since my energy bill is lower, even with the hardware running 24/7/365, are they buying their energy to expensive or what?

Re:Enough to power a thousand homes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745025)

It would be cheaper and cleaner to install a few wind turbines and solar panels and reduce the energy drain and costs, and what they overgenerate they can pump back into the grid. But that requires brains, no?

Re:Enough to power a thousand homes (1)

teknofyl (551947) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745108)

Sounds good in theory, however I doubt that either the environment agencies or the local residents would support this. In the case of Wind Turbines we'd be hit by a sudden fit of NIMBY. As for solar panels, well some of the new buildings here have been designed with grass roofs in order to make them blend in with the environment. Again, I doubt we'd get permission to start decking the roofs with solar panels.

(I work at the Sanger Institute)

Re:Enough to power a thousand homes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745165)

Wave power, Geothermal, solar WINDOW panes, solar WALLS, magnetic induction from the magnetosphere :D There are plenty of non invasive green energy sources.

Re:Enough to power a thousand homes (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745119)

The computing power density of 1000 homes is a lot lower. 1000 homes + the ground they sit on also cost more to buy/build than the one datacenter.

Re:Enough to power a thousand homes (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745502)

It is more about the power consumption. It just seems to expensive. I just tried to compare it in a way which makes their claims just sound to big.

I do not propose a shared/distributed infrastructure, especially not for the storage (if they use up my 750GB, where do I leave my own data? Offline on DVDs?)

Re:Enough to power a thousand homes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745189)

Think about what must be massive air conditioners. Did you see the SAN consolidation diagram? Think about the live redundant mirrors and clusters to feed. Consider that the networking/SAN equipment needs juice too. Last, think about the lighting, the fridges in the break room and all the coffee machines. THINK ABOUT ALL THE COFFEE MACHINES, DAGNABBIT!

Windows (2, Funny)

Elshar (232380) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744874)

They must be using Windows ClusterFun edition.

Re:Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745107)

I hear you can't open more than 256 instances of solitaire on it.

Re:Windows (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745222)

They must be using Windows ClusterFun edition.

I think you mis-spelled that. :-P

Big computers = big power (4, Insightful)

goneutt (694223) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744892)

TANSTAFL. This post seems drawn into the spinning power meter dials and not caring about what the computer is. If you want a lot of power, you need a lot of power. Chip scale efficiency could reduce their bill, but its a research foundation crunching numbers all day. If they need more money they just ask their contributors politly.
How's this stack up with google's server farm bill.

Re:Big computers = big power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744906)

This post seems drawn into the spinning power meter dials and not caring about what the computer is.

No, it's used to draw more hits to our "good friend" Roland's website.

have they heard of the petabox? (5, Interesting)

itsme (6372) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744903)

http://www.archive.org/web/petabox.php [archive.org]

it uses only 60kW for 1 Peta byte

Re:have they heard of the petabox? (1)

Lucractius (649116) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744959)

Certainly a very impressive little rack they have there.

Shame if ive got a petabyte id rather have my system running a real os

VMS forever!!!

Hows them uptime records going eh?

Re:have they heard of the petabox? (1)

goneutt (694223) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745214)

What structure do they use do manage the data?

Petafiles

If you didn't laugh, say it out loud.

Fuck Roland (-1, Flamebait)

humberthumbert (104950) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744908)

Don't click on the link. Don't encourage this whore
to provide more of his dubious submissions.

Get a real job eh Roland. Fucktard. And fuck you too, dipshit editors. If there's a financial arrangement between you and this Roland fellow, it's your duty as a soi-disant outlet of news to declare so.

Re:Fuck Roland (5, Informative)

frakir (760204) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745008)

Mod parent up.

Just have a look on http://www.google.com/search?query=Roland+Piquepai lle&as_sitesearch=slashdot.org/ [google.com] or search slashdot articles on roland piquepaille.

Real whore here is Timothy. I bet he'll post an ad for your site for some change, too.

Re:Fuck Roland (3, Funny)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745369)

According to the Google ads the joke might be on him:

Roland On Sale
Low Prices, Free Shipping
12 Months To Pay, Always In Stock
www.SamAsh.com

Roland in stock
Roland sale
up to 80% off Liquidation Sale
www.infinitemarketplace.com


Anyone else want to buy Roland and make him shut up?

Oh for goodness sake (0, Offtopic)

samael (12612) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745168)

It's an interesting story, which I wanted to see.

The fact that the same person who submitted it also submitted a whole bunch of other stories is besides the point.

Re:Fuck Roland (1, Offtopic)

jemfinch (94833) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745411)

I'll take stories like this (Roland and all) over the consistently boring "Here's what Apple/Microsoft/SCO/Sony/USPTO is doing today!" stories we're inundated with otherwise.

At least this story is interesting. Why does it piss you off so much that someone makes some money off finding this story? If Roland makes some coin because he's bothered to pay attention to news sites I don't read and report interesting articles to a site I do read, by all means, more power to him! I'm glad he's doing the legwork so I don't have to.

Jeremy

Re:Fuck Roland (0, Offtopic)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745615)

I've suggested an option [sourceforge.net] that would let users filter, but it seems to have been ignored.

Whats with the emphasis on power and its costs? (3, Insightful)

manavendra (688020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744916)

What about the costs of scaling and maintaining such an infrastructure? The routine administrative tasks, reporting, etc? The costs for someone actually looking at the generated results to see if they are meaningful at all, and if it is all going in the right direction?

Re:Whats with the emphasis on power and its costs? (1)

jonoton (804262) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745223)

You're quite right - the costs of the science far outway the costs of the IT.

Within the IT budget the cost of maintaining the equipment & running it (including power & cooling) far outstrip the original purchase price.

[I work here too]

Math (4, Interesting)

Alphanos (596595) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744943)

Cost of 0.75 MW: ~$170K
$/MW: ~$227K

Cost of 1.4 MW: >$600K
$/MW: >$429K

Why the difference?

Re:Math (1)

Hittite Creosote (535397) | more than 9 years ago | (#12744968)

Part of it is probably inflation, but personally I'm hoping my electricity bill isn't going to double in the next three years...

Re:Math (2, Interesting)

Walkiry (698192) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745094)

>Why the difference?

Presumably, the infrastructure to get 1.4 MW safely inside the same building and distribute it is more complcated and expensive than what two independent .75 MW would be. Things tend to go down in price when you buy in bulk, until you reach a point where the amount you're asking for is giving more trouble than what is usually dealt with.

Have they considered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12744988)

Chimps on bicycles...

I look forward to the replies.

Roland cant get a job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745026)


not suprising really with webpages like this
--------

Decoding the Genome Needs Superpower

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the largest genomics data centers in the world. In "The Hum and the Genome," the Scientist writes about the IT infrastructure needed to handle the avalanche of data that researchers have to analyze. With its 2,000 processors and its 300 terabytes of storage, the data center uses today about 0.75 megawatts (MW) of power at a cost of 140,000 per year (about $170K). But the data center will need more than a petabyte of storage within three years, and its yearly electricity bill will reach 500,000 (more than $600K) for about 1.4 MW, enough to power more than a thousand homes. Read more...

Below is a small diagram showing the current IT infrastructure of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute [sanger.ac.uk] , used by the Human Genome Project (Credit: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute).

The current IT infrastructure of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Here [the-scientist.com] is a link to a larger version of this chart.

Now, let's look at this IT infrastructure in detail.

* Computers
o Today: The datacenter hosts about 2,000 Alpha processors, originally designed by Digital Equipment (DEC), before its acquisition by Compaq, and later by Hewlett-Packard (HP).
o Tomorrow: The Sanger Institute is looking at cheaper solutions, especially now that HP has officially stopped any development on the Alpha front.
* Storage
o Today: Three different computer rooms have a total capacity of about 300 terabytes.
o Tomorrow: The IT management forecasts about a petabyte within three years -- at least.
* Databases
o Today: There are about 40 different databases, and only two of them are in the 50 terabytes area.
o Tomorrow: One of the databases, the Trace sequence archive currently contains about 700 million entries, and it doubles every 10 months.
* Power bills
o Today: The current equipment needs about 0.75 megawatts for a cost of 140,000 per year (about $170K).
o Tomorrow: The new setup will need about 1.4 megawatts, which will raise the yearly bill to about 500,000 (about $615K today).

The supercomputer vendors can say all they want about diminishing costs. But they almost never talk about the power bills...

Sources: Stuart Blackman, The Scientist, Volume 19, Issue 11, Page 15, June 6, 2005; and various websites

Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745028)

...do they run on Linux??

*ducks*

Units (2, Insightful)

Hank Chinaski (257573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745033)

They use Megawatts as a measurement of energy consumption? Should't that be Megawatt/hour ? P.S.: Dont click the link. Editors could at least include as "Signup required" warning.

Re:Units (1)

Gwyn_232 (585793) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745043)

No, MW is the correct way to express it.

Re:Units (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745285)

They use Megawatts as a measurement of energy consumption? Should't that be Megawatt/hour ?

No. Didn't you pay attention in high school? A megawatt is a unit of power. Power is energy divided by time. A watt is one Joule per second. A joule is a unit of energy.

So, watts means joules per second. When you get your household electric bill it is in kilowatt-hours, which is the number of watts multiplied (not divided) by the time you consumed that many megawatts.

So, since a watt is energy/time, a kilowatt-hour is energy/time x time, which is a unit of energy.

And while household energy use is normally billed per kilowatt-hour (energy used) when you get to be a large commercial customer, you are billed not only for kilowatt-hours (energy used), but for the maximum kilowatts you draw.

Example: when a factory starts up at 9 am, it takes a lot of power to start up the all the machinery. To keep the machinery running takes much less power. Drawing all that power from the grid at 9 am will create a big spike and possibly lead to brownouts. To compensate & prevent that big spike isn't cheap, so you're billed for max. power.

Boycott Piquepaille (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745037)

Reply if you will boybott Piquepaille. PS: Someone should post a similar thread on every one of his future submissions.

Alpha! (1)

Pegasus (13291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745044)

It seems all their boxen are based on Alpha processors. Why? Simply, because even today, you can get the most flops per clock tick out of Alpha. It's a shame such a wonderful architecture was burried.

Anyway, I think I'll be the first in line when they deceide to retire their gs320 servers :)

Re:Alpha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745209)

Like Gurdy, I work at the Sanger Institute as a sysadmin, in particular I work in the group which maintains the largest cluster. And it isn't Alpha.

Alphas were used in the early days, because of their fully 64-bit nature, and it was known that to represent the entire genome in a single file requires 3GB, and at the time few OS's had 64-bit filesystems, let alone 64-bit processors.

We continued to buy them as server machines, but the compute farm which produces http://www.ensembl.org/ [ensembl.org] amongst other things, has not had any Alpha CPUs added to it since 2001.

We got into X86-based blade servers in 2002, and currently have well over a thousand of them, mostly running Debian GNU/Linux.

Re:Alpha! (1)

grouse (89280) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745560)

I use the compute farm the AC refers to and I can confirm that the vast majority of it consists of x86 blades.

Genome - the dog chasing its tail? (3, Insightful)

Wayne247 (183933) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745051)

The interesting bit about genome research is that suppose we do find what the human genetic code all means. We can then start treatments to correct genetic problems, right? If we do so, and say we correct illness X on some kid. When this kid grows up, becomes an adult and have kids of his own, what kind of genetic heritage will he give his own kids? Will these kids inheric the original bad gene of their parent? If so, we'd be running at our lost since defects would multiply across generations...

Re:Genome - the dog chasing its tail? (2, Informative)

J. Random Luser (824671) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745159)

To correct the kid's kids, you need to make the correction in the gamete, before the original kid is conceived. Maybe I'm not reading enough lately, but from Huxley to Gattaca, I don't recollect anyone actually trying that method...

I for one welcome our new Wellcome overlords! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745054)

n/t

Why not name processor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745070)

Why is it that the processor is not named in the articles it if is Alpha or Itanium based. If this was Power/PowerPC/Cell based, there would be a nice big IBM logo on the article.....

Imagine ... (1)

hopethisnickisnottak (882127) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745077)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these.

Generating enough heat to provide for the winter time needs of all europe

Re:Imagine ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745470)

Now we know the true source of global warming.
It isn't that there are more greenhouse gasses keeping the heat in.
It's all the overclockers pumping heat into the atmosphere faster than it can readiate away.

Password (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745089)

Dont bother decoding the thing!! ask God for the password!!

Research target (1)

readerVoice (890098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745135)

I wonder what the target of this research is. Daily I hear news on TV about people dying of hunger in Africa and other parts of the world. Can't this money be used there? Or am I nuts to think that way.

Re:Research target (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745266)

The human genome is only one of the many genomes being studied at the Institute.

One of the organisms being actively studied at the Sanger Institute is Paramecium falciparum, the organism that causes malaria, and Anopheles gambiae, a mosquito. Study of both of these will hopefully reap huge benefits in the treatment, prevention and perhaps eventually eradication of malaria.

The Pathogen Sequencing Unit that's doing that is also studying other major third world diseases, such as plague.

And much of what we do is developing technology and software tools which other researchers, both commercial and academic, can apply to their various areas of disease, pharmacology and agricultural research

Imagine ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745145)

a beowolf cluster with these..

BTW, mod parent up.. (oops, no parent)

illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12745167)

Hasn't anyone told them that decoding a genome is in violation of the DMCA?

Whoa (1)

grimhammer (890005) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745173)

That remark should be sufficient here. I mean... whoa...

Cure your piquephobia (1)

Bemmu (42122) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745177)

Do YOU hate Roland Piquepaille? It doesn't have to be so. With my scientifically proven brainwashing program, you can rid yourself of piquephobia forever!

http://www.bemmu.com/pique/ [bemmu.com]

Big deal! (1)

Anti Frozt (655515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745215)

My car requires 1.21 jigawatts and a flux-capacitor.

Compression, people, compression! (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 9 years ago | (#12745661)

Don't tell me endlessly repeated combinations of the same four base pairs needs 300 TB...
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