SOURCE: Mitrionics, Inc.

March 09, 2007 09:00 ET

BioTeam Names SGI, Mitrionics and Accelerated BLAST in Top Ten BioIT Trends for 2007

Mitrionics and Mitrion-Accelerated BLAST Named in #5 "Reconfigurable Accelerator Boards (FPGAs)" Along With SGI

SUNNYVALE, CA and LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 9, 2007 --SGI (NASDAQ: SGIC), manufacturer of FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array)-based SGI® Altix® family servers with SGI® RASC™ RC100 computation blades, and Mitrionics™, Inc., developer of the Mitrion™ Virtual Processor and software-centric Mitrion-C programming language for FPGA Supercomputing acceleration, were named as one of the Top Ten BioIT Trends for 2007 that was published in the industry publication BioIT World. Compiled by the BioTeam, a consulting collective dedicated to delivering vendor-agnostic informatics solutions to the life sciences industry, Mitrionics and its close FPGA Supercomputing provider SGI were both named in the #5 Top BioIT Trend - "Reconfigurable Accelerator Boards (FPGAs)."

"The first thing I should mention is that the list is totally unordered, so being number 5 is not necessarily different than being 3 or being 8," said Christopher Dwan, BioTeam Principal Investigator, who recommended the addition of FPGAs to the BioIT Trends list. "Reconfigurable computing devices occupy this interesting ground between absolute standard CPUs and completely custom computing hardware. In a number of cases, they have been shown to deliver substantial improvements in performance, price/performance and power consumption."

Additionally, the collaborative efforts of SGI and Mitrionics directly address the #1 Top Ten BioIT Trend for 2007 -- which is "Power and Cooling Costs." SGI and Mitrionics are the leaders in the expanding market of FPGA Supercomputing -- where applications are modified to be accelerated (10x to 100x) on computer systems utilizing FPGAs. Mitrionics has also accelerated the NCBI BLAST bioinformatics application and is delivering that as a turnkey solution worldwide with SGI.

# 5 Top BioIT Trend for 2007 as described in the Dec/Jan 2007 Issue of BioIT World - Vol. 5, no. 10.

"Reconfigurable Accelerator Boards (FPGAs) - FPGA technology has been the 'next big thing' in bioinformatics for awhile, and 2007 will be no exception. SGI is including an FPGA offering in their new product line, and companies like Mitrionics are providing a development environment, which will support expanded use. As the computational load required for genomics becomes more stable, specific common tools like BLAST will be moved to dedicated, special purpose hardware."

"For about the past 6 or 7 years I've been going to the Supercomputing conference; I've seen reconfigurable devices like the FPGAs and they've been lacking two critical parts. One: they are more difficult to use than general processors because you have to put in a lot more effort to build out this custom thing to get essentially the same result, except that same result is going to be faster. FPGAs have been lacking either an easy way for its users to do that, or an established person in the middle who builds out the specific tool for the specific application area, at least in the life sciences. You want something that makes your science easier to do, not harder," said Dwan.

"This year at Supercomputing '06, I saw several companies stepping into that gap, specifically Mitrionics, coming out with their compiler libraries and all sorts of expertise in various scientific domains," continued Dwan. "It strikes me as exactly what is needed in order to turn FPGAs from a potentially useful technology into something where, in a year, we're going to be saying 'Wow! Why didn't anybody do that sooner?'

"And the second factor that I saw is the partnership with major hardware vendors, and by hardware vendors I mean the people who, at the end of the day, sell hardware to customers," said Dwan. "Instead of vendors viewing this technology as a competition to their core chip business as in the past, SGI and some others are seeing it as a value-add that makes the product offering more powerful. People are going to buy a particular brand because of the support, because of the reliability, and also because the product is tightly integrated and partnered with these reconfigurable accelerator boards. I've been saying, 'Wow, FPGAs are going to be the next big thing' forever. I think it's this year. It seems to me that Mitrionics and SGI finally see the two pieces that were missing in the stack. They finally got it. I think we're going to start seeing some really interesting products."

#1 Top BioIT Trend for 2007 as described in the Dec/Jan 2007 Issue of BioIT World - Vol. 5, no. 10.

"Power and Cooling Costs (both in Dollars and CO2) - A typical 1U server costs $1 to $2 per day to both heat (provide computing) and cool. On the surface this may not seem like much. However, annually this adds up to a typical 42U rack consuming $30,000 in electricity and the generation of CO2 equivalent to having burned 4,000 gallons of gasoline. These factors (among others) are driving hardware manufacturers to increase the number of FLOPS per Watt. The introduction of the two- and four-core processors dramatically increase the number of FLOPS per Watt. Look for the number of cores per processor to hit double digits."

"I think in terms of genomes analyzed per ton of coal," said Dwan, who was also instrumental in selecting "Power and Cooling Costs" for the Top Ten trends article. "If coal is used to generate electricity and the end goal is to analyze genomes, there's some exchange we're making between digging up dirty stuff out of the ground and getting useful scientific knowledge. I wrote a column in Bio IT World exclusively dedicated to power in the data center and what it costs. The number that I came up with was approximately $1 per day per server. That's not unreasonable for a human being sitting in their home with a computer: $365 a year to have this device on. But when you stack them up into, say, a 200-node cluster, that's $200 a day. Suddenly I've got about a full-time employee's worth of electricity being burned. And that's a recurring cost that's only going to get more expensive as electricity gets more expensive. Then, there are environmental concerns. It's going to be absolutely huge to say 'Okay, can we be just a bit more efficient?' We have a choice between having one special-purpose device -- or we could do it with general-purpose processors, but it will take 20 times as many of them. If you're going to be doing scientific research, such as genomic data matching for typically two years, you can see the cost-savings immediately."

"We believe our accelerated turnkey bioinformatics solutions, currently offered in conjunction with our close partner SGI, are going to dramatically increase the market adoption of real-world, FPGA-accelerated systems and applications in 2007. Customers from around the globe have shown strong interest in our Mitrion-accelerated BLAST, and we're following that up with additional BLAST versions, and other applications for bioinformatics," stated Anders Dellson, CEO of Mitrionics, Inc. "Mitrionics is also very involved in developing or co-developing FPGA-accelerated applications for a variety of industry segments as well as government and scientific projects. The success SGI and Mitrionics are having in FPGA Supercomputing really demonstrates what can be accomplished when you have two companies in the right places, at the right time, working together. After years of interest and hype about the ability of FPGAs to accelerate application performance, the next few months and quarters are going to transform what was previously just potential into a practical reality that will redefine this technology and market segment."

"An FPGA draws one-quarter to one-third the power of a CPU, and yet can generate results more rapidly," said Michael Brown, sciences segment manager at SGI. "The combination of higher performance with lower power consumption will figure heavily in purchasing decisions in the sciences and other industries. Scientists are already using SGI RASC capabilities to effectively obtain results from the mountains of genomic data being generated by next generation genome sequencers."

About Mitrion-Accelerated BLAST

Mitrion-accelerated BLAST applications are designed to run on the Mitrion Virtual Processor operating in FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array)-based computer systems including the SGI® RASC RC100 computation blade in SGI Altix family servers, built with dual Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGAs. The turnkey BLAST application provides instant FPGA Supercomputing performance acceleration without requiring any development costs, time, or risks by the customer. The Mitrion-accelerated BLAST marks a major industry milestone by achieving significant performance increases over traditional processors and it is the first commercially available FPGA-accelerated application to run on systems from a major vendor.


BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) is the primary tool for sequence comparisons in Bioinformatics and contains several subprograms for different computational problems. These subprograms all use a heuristic search algorithm designed to speed up computations while retaining sensitivity. The amount of sequence data in public databases has been growing faster than CPU speed, making speed a fundamental problem in bioinformatics data mining.

About the Mitrion Platform and Mitrion Virtual Processor

The fine-grained, massively parallel Mitrion Virtual Processor is the core of the Mitrion Platform. It runs software written in the Mitrion-C programming language in FPGAs and completely eliminates the need for the programmer to master hardware design. The Mitrion Virtual Processor has a unique architecture that lets it be adapted to each program it is running in order to maximize performance. Together with the Mitrion Software Development Kit, it offers a unique solution for developing supercomputing applications for FPGAs on a true software level. This dramatically reduces the total development costs for FPGA-based software acceleration, and more importantly, enables the whole supercomputing industry to benefit from FPGA application acceleration.

About Mitrionics

Founded in 2001, Mitrionics, Inc. is the technology leader in the exciting new field of FPGA Supercomputing which provides higher processing power and lower energy consumption than clusters of computer systems. The company's Mitrion Virtual Processor and Mitrion Software Development Kit provide cost effective FPGA Supercomputing power to organizations for their most critical applications. The Mitrion Platform is unique from any other programming solution, because it eliminates the need for circuit design skills, thus making FPGA Supercomputing performance accessible to an entire new market of scientists and developers. Mitrionics has key industry relationships with Cray, Nallatech, and SGI. For more information, visit the company Web site at or call 310-558-9495, or email:

About BioTeam

BioTeam is a consulting collective dedicated to delivering vendor-agnostic informatics solutions to the life sciences industry. They can be found on the Web at

SGI -- Innovation for Results™

SGI (NASDAQ: SGIC) is a leader in high-performance computing. SGI delivers a complete range of high-performance server and storage solutions along with industry-leading professional services and support that enable its customers to overcome the challenges of complex data-intensive workflows and accelerate breakthrough discoveries, innovation and information transformation. SGI solutions help customers solve their computing challenges whether it's enhancing the quality of life through drug research, designing and manufacturing safer and more efficient cars and airplanes, studying global climate, providing technologies for homeland security and defense, or helping enterprises manage large data. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and can be found on the Web at

© 2007 SGI. All rights reserved. SGI, Altix, the SGI cube and the SGI logo are registered trademarks, and NUMAflex, NUMAlink and RASC are trademarks of SGI in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. Mitrionics, Mitrion, Mitrion Platform, Mitrion Virtual Processor, and Mitrion Software Development Kit are trademarks of Mitrionics, Inc. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in several countries. Intel, Itanium, and Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding SGI technologies and third-party technologies that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely unduly on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future or current performance. Such risks and uncertainties include long-term program commitments, the performance of third parties, the sustained performance of current and future products, financing risks, the ability to integrate and support a complex technology solution involving multiple providers and users, and other risks detailed from time to time in the company's most recent SEC reports, including its reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.

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