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World's First Human -Powered Supercomputer Conducts Complex Genomics Calculation While Running on Bicycle Power
[September 14, 2007]

World's First Human -Powered Supercomputer Conducts Complex Genomics Calculation While Running on Bicycle Power

LOS ANGELES --(Business Wire)-- SiCortex, Inc., the first company to engineer a Linux(R) cluster from the silicon up, graphically illustrated the opportunity for dramatic power saving today by demonstrating the first high performance computer powered solely by a team of bicyclists. The computer, an SC648, conducted a complex genomics analysis at a rate of billions of calculations per second while being powered by a team of 8-10 bicyclists riding generator-equipped bicycles. The demonstration will run through Sunday at the Wired Magazine NextFest at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Energy usage has become among the most pressing issues in high performance computing (also known as "supercomputing") with the demand for power growing tremendously every year. Because of the types of chips they use, traditional high performance computers run extremely hot, and require a tremendous amount of power to not only run the machines, but to provide industrial strength air conditioning to cool them. Power demands for high performance computers have increased so dramatically, utilities have capped the amount of electricity they will deliver to some computer centers. SiCortex's systems are designed to provide extremely fast calculations while radically reducing power consumption.

"For every high-performance computer in use today, society could benefit from a hundred of them," said Dr. John Mucci, SiCortex CEO. "But unless we retire the current power hogs, we will never get there in a sustainable way. At SiCortex we set out to show that we can build a serious high performance computer while reducing power requirements to levels that were previously thought to be impossible. Today's demonstration dramatically illustrates what can be achieved when we focus on addressing these power issues. We hope other companies will join with SiCortex and focus on new approaches to solving the power problem."

To illustrate the huge benefits of high-performance computing, the bicycle-powered SC648 is carrying out a very advanced genomics computation from the United States Department of Agriculture. The application analyzes and compares the genomes of hundreds of potentially-related insect pests to determine which are the most-closely related and to uncover heretofore undocumented species. New species can require changes to existing international trade agreements and put domestic crops at risk.

"Ten years ago, this analysis was impossible on even the biggest computers, and now it's being done on a bicycle powered machine," said Mucci "Ten years from now, we'll probably be doing it right down at the docks as they unload the ships. But these tools will only proliferate if we learn to design them to be sustainable."

The SiCortex computer was powered by bicyclists from the Jax Racing team, riding eight Trek bicycles producing an average of 260 watts each. The demonstration will be repeated throughout the show, with the UCLA cycling team providing the power on Saturday afternoon.

About SiCortex

SiCortex, the first company to engineer a Linux cluster from the silicon up, is dedicated to the spread of open teraflop computing to a wide variety of users by providing "Teraflops from Milliwatts." Founded in 2003 by a respected team of computer industry executives, the company is backed by a number of top tier investors, including Chevron Technology Ventures, Flagship Ventures, JK&B Capital, Polaris Venture Partners, Prism VentureWorks and Hercules Technology Growth Capital. For more information visit

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