Sun to Create World-Class Medical Imaging Lab with Columbia University

3/13/2003 - Illustrating its strength in medical imaging and visualization technology, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) has selected Columbia University's Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Center as a Sun Center of Excellence in Neuroscience Research. The new center of excellence will utilize Sun technologies to create a central link between neurocomputing and neuroimaging. The center was officially opened on March 6, 2003.

Headed by world-renowned neuroscientist Joy Hirsch, Ph.D. of Columbia University, the fMRI Research Center's ( charter as a Sun Center of Excellence is to establish a collaborative and multi-investigator neuroimaging research environment focused on education, medical applications, and the study of brain, behavior and therapy-induced cortical effects aimed at the systems of the brain that underlie perception, cognition and action. Although current imaging technology is able to acquire images and maps of brain function, the computing resources to apply these images toward understanding brain function lags far behind.

The mission of the Sun Center of Excellence is to bring neuroimaging together with neurocomputing within a world-wide community of neuroscientists. This major undertaking recognizes that future advances in understanding brain function will depend upon new computing tools that integrate many levels of data including neuroimaging, behavior, physiology, electrophysiology, genetics, pharmacology, and nanotechnology. The Sun Center of Excellence will provide an infrastructure and a global virtual computing environment to address these new challenges.

"The Center of Excellence program allows us to share our technology expertise with institutions that want to make a difference with their research" said Kim Jones, vice president, Global Education and Research for Sun Microsystems, Inc. "Columbia's fMRI Center has recognized the value of our visualization/medical imaging, HPC and Web serving capabilities in helping to create a preeminent ASP environment dedicated to neuroscience. We look forward to aiding this prestigious academic institution in its efforts to answer some of the most important questions in current brain science."

Sun drives this global neuro-computing mission by creating a state-of -the-art functional imaging computing center with a large-scale HPC server room, which includes a Sun Fire[tm] 6800 server with 24 CPUS as the backbone of the system, 20 Sun Blade[tm] 2000 workstations and a Sun StorEdge[tm] 9960 SAN providing up to 5TB of online storage space. Helping to extend the laboratory's usefulness to researchers around the world, the imaging center will be based on an ASP (Applied Service Provider) model utilizing Java[tm] technologies to make the software accessible from any computing platform, and potentially from any networked computer around the world. In tandem with this project, Sun also anticipates developing new software to take advantage of the parallel computing environment, enabling the processing and analysis of MRI images in more efficient and innovative way. This neuroimaging mission is also based on the latest GE scanner and platforms optimized for neuroimaging and synchronized behavioral stimulation.

"The central goal of neuroscience is to understand the biological mechanisms that underlie mental events. It is critical that we work collaboratively and across disciplines to achieve this goal. This central and integrated computing resource model allows principal investigators from various departments and expertise in the biological and social sciences, as well as in engineering, computer science and mathematics to work in a collaborative environment" said Joy Hirsch, Ph.D., Columbia University. "It's a great advantage to us to be a Sun Center of Excellence working with Sun and Java technologies. We will build a premier functional imaging center that will serve as a global hub for clinical and research computing within Columbia as well as the extended neuroscience and neuro-medicine communities. Current expansion plans are already in place to establish an adjoining computational system within the Department of Psychology at Columbia University to enhance a new initiative that incorporates neuroimaging and studies of the neurobiology of cognition.

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.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer" -- 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, Sun Fire, Sun Blade, StorEdge, Java 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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