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NF Gamaleya Institute upgrades HPC cluster

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The NF Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology has upgraded its HPC cluster to aid its research work in the fields of molecular dynamics, chemistry, biotechnologies and development of the latest pharmaceutical products. The upgrade was carried out by T-Platforms.

The core business of the Gamaleya Institute is to provide solutions for fundamental problems in the field of epidemiology, medical and molecular microbiology and infectious immunology. Analysis of the spread and epidemiological properties of extremely dangerous infectious diseases, investigation of the molecular bases for the development of the infectious process, investigation of common factors for the emergence and epidemiological evidence of nidi of human diseases, research into problems of general and infectious immunology, as well as the development of new diagnostic tools, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases all have a special place in this research.

For the purpose of modelling and computer testing of the pharmaceutical products under development, the institute management made the decision several years ago to acquire a high-performance computer system specifically adapted for solving such problems. At the beginning of this year, the volume of the work performed on this cluster increased to such an extent that the capacity of computational nodes was no longer sufficient to tackle the problems set, so the decision was made to upgrade it. As a result, the cluster capacity was doubled.

One of the main areas of research currently performed on the basis of T-Platforms’ cluster is the creation of new drugs to treat chronic bacterial infections caused by chlamydia. Current well-known antibiotics are only efficient with respect to acute forms of chlamydiosis. For chronic forms that cause the most common problem of developing serious complications that result in infertility, pregnancy failure and arthritis, there are no efficient therapeutic agents. The computation power of the cluster is used for simulation of chlamydia proteins, the target of future medication, as well as for carrying out virtual screening, which helps select substances most capable of tackling the targets. To date, the first stage of screening has already been completed, and substances potentially capable of suppressing one of the main pathogenic factors of chlamydia have been selected. Some of them have already demonstrated their anti-chlamydia activity in vitro, and it is planned to expand the spectrum of tested potential inhibitors in the near future.

The foundation of the upgraded cluster of the Gamaleya Institute is a universal system T-Blade 1.1 with 10 computational nodes based on Intel Xeon X5670 processors. The peak performance of the cluster is 2.5 Tflops, while real efficiency demonstrated by the Linpack test exceeded 85 per cent.