06:54pm Tuesday 22 August 2017

Super computers will help find health breakthrough

Professor Martin Berzins of the University of Utah will give a public lecture at the University of Canterbury (UC) on December 10. He will show how massive computing power can be harnessed to answer science and engineering questions.

“One clear application lies in using New Zealand flora and fauna that includes proteins which can help treat people’s illnesses,” Professor Berzins says.

“By having in NZ supercomputing capacity we can gain leverage by linking to the massive computing power of national labs in the US, such as Argonne.

“I’ll talk about how the beginnings of a materials-by-design approach may be implemented on petascale computers capable of more than 10 to the power of 15 calculations a second. Such capacity makes it possible to design new materials or compounds entirely on supercomputers.

“New Zealand researchers could use massive computers to find out how specific proteins in New Zealand plants can help in treating illnesses by providing new drugs.”

Professor Berzins’ visit to UC is part of an exchange of information with New Zealand researchers who use the Bluefern IBM computer at the University of Canterbury to help solve challenging computational problems.

The use of computers such as Bluefern together with approaches such as prescribed by Professor Berzins, makes it possible for researchers to write software that can be used on the largest computers in the world. Future and more powerful computers could help solve problems such as the discovery of new materials or drugs.

“Our collaboration with top researchers like UC’s Professor Tim David helps all of us produce and find solutions,” Professor Berzins says.

“We have already carried out some research here at UC. Without the Bluefern, UC experts would never be able to participate in world-class research.”

For further information please contact:
Kip Brook
Media Consultant
Student Services and Communications
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168

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