Astounding Science: the CycleCloud BigScience Winners


“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”
  — Thomas A. Edison

It is with this quote in mind that we get to do something wonderful. Today, we will honor the winner of the CycleCloud BigScience Challenge 2011.


What is the CycleCloud BigScience Challenge?

Last October, we defined "utility supercomputing" and challenged researchers to break out of a common habit: limiting the questions they asked to the size of their local compute environment.  Instead we asked them to propose big questions whose answers can move humanity forward. 

We offered the winner use of “utility supercomputing”, providing resources at a scale of the Top 500 supercomputing list, to run their BigScience for a few hours, then turn it off. With Cycle offering $10,000 in time, and Amazon adding another $2,500, together the Winner will have an equivalent of 10 hours on a 30,000-core CycleCloud cluster.

We announced the Finalists at Supercomputing 2011, and had a group of industry luminaries agree to be judges, including Kevin Davies of Bio IT World, Matt Wood of AWS, and Peter Shenkin of Schrodinger. Many thanks to all of you for your help.


The Finalists

And then we saw the Finalists' presentations. The experience was inspiring. The finalists all sought to tackle BigScience problems, which only utility supercomputing could help. And it was awesome!

So it is with great pleasure I would like to recognize the Finalists that presented:

  • Alan Aspuru-Guzik & Johannes Hachmann, Harvard Clean Energy Project
  • Jesus Izaguirre, University of Notre Dame
  • Victor Ruotti, Morgridge Institute for Research
  • Martin Steinegger, TU Munich ROSTLAB

Next up, we created an Honorable Mention for Alan Aspuru-Guzik & Johannes Hachmann of the Harvard Clean Energy Project, for great research into creating more efficient energy from organic photovoltaic cells. We will give Alan and Johannes the idle compute capacity on Cycle's R&D clusters.


And the CycleCloud BigScience Winner is…

Victor Ruotti, a computational biologist at the Morgridge Institute for Research. He and his team will use utility supercomputing to help create an index of RNA alignments that affect the differentiation of human stem cells into specific kinds of cells. The research itself is amazing, and the ability for it to be put into practice quickly in wet labs should have a big impact in the use of stem cells to treat disease.

In closing, we hold high hopes for all of this research, and are excited to report back to you on the results. And equally importantly, we hope that you start to think about how utility supercomputing, whether at 30 or 30,000 cores, that can help ignite your work, make your research more agile, develop products and treatments faster, and enable "all the things that we are capable of". As Edison wisely pointed out, it will literally be astounding.

Jason Stowe
CEO, Cycle Computing

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