CDC Uses Linux Cluster To Study Smallpox - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Software // Enterprise Applications
News
3/4/2003
02:07 PM
50%
50%

CDC Uses Linux Cluster To Study Smallpox

Though the CDC is officially a Windows shop, Linux is the cheapest and most-effective way for the center to cluster servers.

Although much of the world's attention has been focused on treating and containing the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still devoting IT resources to protect the country from the threat of a smallpox outbreak.

Since the beginning of the year, the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases has been using a Linux cluster to run bioinformatics programs that will help scientists better understand smallpox, a contagious, infectious disease for which there is no specific treatment. The cluster consists of 40 Athlon MP processors from Advanced Micro Devices, Evolocity rack-mounted servers from Linux Networx, and several Ice Box appliances, also from Linux Networx. The Ice appliances combine a serial terminal server and a remote-controlled power switch to simplify cluster management.

The Linux cluster is the first of its kind within the CDC, which is still officially a Windows shop. But Linux is the cheapest and most-effective way to cluster servers, says one of the center's bioinformaticians. A bioinformatician is an IT professional whose work includes developing mathematical codes for analyzing, managing, and processing biological data. The ability to use AMD Athlon MP processors within the cluster helped keep the cost at about $60,000.

"There's a lot of bioinformatics software that runs on Linux and a lot of development and management tools that, likewise, were written for Unix," the bioinformatician says. For example, the cluster is running programs that study the phylogeny, or evolution, of the smallpox virus. These programs compare different variations within the smallpox virus with the hope that vaccination and treatment for smallpox will evolve as the virus itself evolves.

"Our goal is to understand as much as we can about smallpox," the bioinformatician says. As such, the center is devoting a portion of its IT resources toward accumulating knowledge that it hopes it will never have to use.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
[Interop ITX 2017] State Of DevOps Report
[Interop ITX 2017] State Of DevOps Report
The DevOps movement brings application development and infrastructure operations together to increase efficiency and deploy applications more quickly. But embracing DevOps means making significant cultural, organizational, and technological changes. This research report will examine how and why IT organizations are adopting DevOps methodologies, the effects on their staff and processes, and the tools they are utilizing for the best results.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll