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Michael Dell Says New Servers Will Attract Researchers

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The president of Dell Computer Company says the installation of two thousand Dell servers in UB's Supercomputing Center will have a positive impact on the local economy.

Dell founder, president and CEO Michael Dell was on hand Tuesday afternoon as UB unveiled its $13 million cluster of computer servers.

Weighing more than 80,000 pounds, the cluster performs in one day what a desk top computer would take eleven years to complete. The servers are connected together and act as a single, high-powered computer.

Dell says the increased computer capacity will be noticed.

"A large cluster like the one that installed across the hallway here can absolutely attract the best researchers," Dell said. "It can spin off start-up companies. Those are some of the things that have happened in other places where you have great tools and great investment in cutting edge research."

Make no mistake, Dell says, this was a buyer-seller arrangement for UB and Dell. But he said the company is providing its own resources to make sure the computers are working at peak efficiency. Plus, the State University of New York, the state itself, the federal government and the Oishei Foundation were all part of the funding package.

Now the scientists will take over. Jeffrey Skolnick, the new director of UB's Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, said the added computer capacity will allow researchers to begin the process of deciphering the human genome.

"Eventually, the long term goal of the research we're doing is personalized medicine," Skolnick said. "One would like to design drugs that are specific to you with minimal side-effects, but if I took them, they would kill me."

More than 50 UB scientists are already engaged in bioinformatics research. Skolnick says some concrete discoveries are about three to five years away.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Mark Scott's nationally-broadcast report on the new computer cluster. It aired during the NPR business newscast on Wednesday morning.