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New computing center at Stanford supports big data

computer facilityWhen I went out to visit Stanford's new computing center recently, located at SLAC, I admit I wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, it's a building with servers, so, where's the excitement? Call me easily amused, but one thing that struck me was the view. There you are, in a state-of-the-art computing center, staring as a grassy hillside, oak trees in the distance, and deer wandering by. Not bad.

Also - and stay with me for this one because at first read this might not sound so interesting - the air-driven cooling system is pretty (forgive the pun) cool. When it comes to computing, keeping the servers in their temperature happy zone takes a lot of energy in air conditioning. By taking advantage of the mild bay area temperatures, the building will save significant energy. Modeling climate change (one of the projects that will be running at the facility) just got greener.

Although computing space at the Stanford Research Computing Center is available to faculty across campus, one-third is allocated to the School of Medicine, which says something about the growing importance of big data and computation in medical technology. As I wrote in an online story today:

Case in point, the School of Medicine has a joint big data initiative with Oxford University and is hosting an international Big Data in Biomedicine meeting May 21-23. The meeting's organizer, Euan Ashley, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine who directs Stanford's arm of the collaboration, said the initiative to improve health care worldwide benefits from the university's computation strengths.

Ashley is one of several medical school researchers who will be carrying out computing at the new facility as part of the school's big data initiative.

Previously: Euan Ashley discusses harnessing big data to drive innovation for a healthier world, Registration opens for Big Data in Biomedicine conference at Stanford, Grant from Li Ka Shing Foundation to fund big data initiative and conference at Stanford, Big laughs at Stanford’s Big Data in Biomedicine Conference and A call to use the “tsunami of biomedical data” to preserve life and enhance health
Photo by Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

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