Sun Addresses Needs and Demands of a New Generation of Scientists

2/26/2003 - Building on its commitment to advance academic research through high performance computing technology, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) announced the Sun North Carolina Research Triangle Center of Excellence (COE) in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. By bringing together seven prominent universities, institutions and business partners as participants of the first virtual, multi-member COE, Sun is helping address the needs and demands of a new generation of scientists in this growing industry segment.

The COE aims to provide better research tools and capabilities for academic researchers in the field of genomics and proteomics, to provide a coordinated effort for training scientists using these tools and software, and to develop a distributed computing environment to facilitate collaboration between universities and corporations. The partners include Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Supercomputing Center, North Carolina Genomics and Bioinformatics Consortium, Incellico and SAS.

It is anticipated that this COE will deliver a value of well over $6 million in computing hardware, software and services. By combining the resources of three large North Carolina universities along with four other partners and Sun Microsystems makes this announcement very significant by reducing costs through collaboration versus typically individual approaches to research computing.

"The North Carolina COE represents a creative partnership that was developed through the North Carolina Genomics and Bioinformatics Consortium. This COE is based on strong science and a collaborative spirit among world-class universities, the North Carolina Supercomputing Center at MCNC and industry leaders such as Incellico, Inc., SAS and Sun Microsystems," said Dr. Ken Tindall, president of the North Carolina Genomics and Bioinformatics Consortium LLC.

"Sun's continued focus on higher education through our COE program is advancing critical academic research worldwide, by fostering collaboration between leading universities, research institutes and industry partners," said Kim Jones, vice president, Global Education and Research for Sun Microsystems. "As the first virtual, multi-member COE, the Research Triangle Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology brings this collaboration to a higher level, providing students and researchers with the technological resources they need to advance on numerous fronts from academic growth, to increased commerce to scientific progress."

The seven participants that make up the Research Triangle COE are as follows:

Duke University: Duke has established the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, which is an over-arching structure for university-wide, integrated programs in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, ethics, public policy and law. Within the Duke Genomics Institute, Sun equipment will be of pivotal use to the Center for Human Genetics in their efforts to discover the genetic and epidemiological basis of human disease. The Center for Bioinformatics & Computational Biology will also use Sun equipment as the core of its high-level bioinformatics laboratory, which will serve as the focal point for bioinformatics and computational biology research across campus. In addition, the Department of Computer Science will apply Sun computers to their ongoing studies in both structural biology and DNA computing.

North Carolina State University (NCSU): NCSU has identified genomic science and bioinformatics as a high priority area for the university and currently has more than 100 faculty affiliated with the Graduate Programs in Genomics Sciences which provides specialized training in functional genomics and bioinformatics. The NCSU Bioinformatics Research Center has used Sun workstations to develop and distribute the well known QTL Cartographer software. This very widely used software package allows genetic researchers to locate the genes responsible for complex quantitative traits, including risk factors for human disease or economic traits in domesticated plants and animals.

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill: UNC-Chapel Hill is expanding its research capabilities in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics through the development of the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences. Using Sun equipment, UNC-Chapel Hill is conducting research to create and support distributed bioinformatics systems that provide common data resources and bioinformatics analysis tools to researchers in North Carolina, the United States, Canada and Europe working on common biomedical research projects. The UNC-Chapel Hill Center for BioInformatics is also actively involved with the creation of a data warehouse to integrate clinical, demographic and genomics data in search of modifier genes that influence the severity of the genetic disease Cystic Fibrosis in order to discover novel treatments and drug targets that will benefit the global community.

North Carolina Supercomputing Center: Operated by MCNC, NCSC provides high performance computation and data storage for academic, commercial and industrial users. NCSC is also the driving force behind the North Carolina BioGRID project. Sun, the Universities and many other partners and vendors are all collaborating to support NCSC in this unique network and computing infrastructure in support of Bioinformatics research requirements.

North Carolina Genomics and Bioinformatics Consortium: The Consortium is a project of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and partners world-wide and was launched in December 2000 to help academic, industrial and federal research laboratories within the state of NC address the challenges as well as leverage the opportunities posed by the revolution in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics for the good of the state, and society as a whole. The BioGRID is a key initiative of this Consortium to date.

Incellico: Incellico, a life science software partner of Sun, develops its CELL[tm] knowledge management solutions on Solaris to enable scientists to discover, define, track and harness semantic relationships across the full range of life science data types associated with discovery. The software will be provided as a commercial service to the Sun COE member community and will leverage future NC BioGrid development.

SAS: As the leader in business intelligence, SAS offers discovery research solutions that promote collaboration and innovation through data centralization, programming accessibility and sound statistical analyses. SAS will work with the other members of the COE to develop novel approaches to analyzing, perusing and sharing genomic and proteomic data that will provide the keys for understanding the biological and societal implications hidden within genomic research. Sun's Center of Excellence program includes more than 30 centers worldwide in the areas of high performance computing, computational biology, digital libraries and e-learning. There are Eight Sun COEs in computational biology, including Virginia Bioinfomatics Institute, Delaware Biotechnology Institute, Beijing Genomics Institute, University of Calgary, University of Chicago, Canadian NRC/CBR, National Cheng Kung University, and the Tokyo University of Science. The area of medical imaging, SUN COEs include Columbia University, Dartmouth University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. For information about Sun in Education's computational biology programs, please visit

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer[tm]" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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