The computers involved in processing DNA data, Ewan Birney
Interviewee: Ewan Birney. The computers involved in processing DNA data.
So we, we call this set-up a farm, there are 400 processors here and there are 400 computers and they're all absolutely identically set up. The only thing that's different is their name, everything else is completely the same. So there's 400 processors, it's a very powerful processor chip: Alpha, Compaq Alpha chips. And quite a lot of memory, a gig's worth of memory in each box. So this is actually a massive amount of compute behind me. And what we do is we split our problem just into, say, 20,000 pieces, and then each piece we send to one of these sort of worker-bee nodes. And they do their work and then they give it back and then they say "I'm ready!", and they get another piece, and they're just endlessly being driven by our master computer which is actually set somewhere else, that drives them, as you can see.
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Dr. Ewan Birney is a bioinformatician and worked on the Human Genome Project.
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