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InformationWeek 500: Monsanto Stays Ahead Of The CurveInformationWeek 500: Monsanto Stays Ahead Of The Curve

The company's "molecular breeding platform" predicts good and bad crops digitally, and its green data center is expected to cut energy use by 30%.

J. Nicholas Hoover

September 11, 2008

2 Min Read

Collaboration isn't the only place Monsanto has embraced emerging technology. The company also has written innovative software and is on the cutting edge of green data center design.

Monsanto uses software it calls the "molecular breeding platform" to accelerate the production of plants that bring higher yields and resistance to herbicides. Terabytes of information about plants--down to the genotypes of individual seeds--plus a combination of robotics and custom software with custom workflow and data visualization capabilities all track, present, and analyze genetic data. Instead of years of trial and error by planting, now Monsanto can predict good and bad crops digitally and quickly get the information into researchers' hands.

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The company also recently opened one of the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified data centers, a $21 million venture Monsanto estimates will save 30% of the energy used by typical data centers. It includes some funky design requirements as well: The data center can withstand a tornado, but it's also the only hardened data center in the United States with natural light, says CIO Mark Showers, as a bank of windows lines one side.

Illustration by Brian Stauffer

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About the Author(s)

J. Nicholas Hoover

Senior Editor, InformationWeek Government

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