Tak dlouhhodoby vypadek byl zpusoben hurikanem Ike, ktery zdevastoval sidlo projektu. Puvodni optimisticke predpoklady k obnove infrastruktury projektu byly bohuzel nadsazene. Vsemoznych problemu bylo vice nez dost, zamestanci prisli o majetek i strechu nad hlavou, takze meli jine priority. Zivelnou katastrofou doslo k poskozeni vypocetniho HW (nestabilni cluster, pres datova uloziste se prehnala voda). Podpora projektu byla ovlivnena take znacnou redukci personalu.
Jako pozitivum uvadi mnohem lepsi soucasny provoz projektu. Duvodem je premisteni jejich vypocetni sily do Texas Advanced Computer Center, kdy mohou tezit ze synergie mezi jednim z nejrychlejsich superpocitacu sveta a nejrozsahlejsi vypocetni siti. Rozsireni datoveho pole, znacne vylepsena datova zaloha a aplikacni programy, ktere byly testovany a optimalizovany pomoci superpocitace se projevily v 10nasobnem zrychleni vypoctu na strane projektu. Projekt nyni slape mnohem lepe, nez pred devastujicim hurikanem.
Soucasne aktivity projektu jsou popsany v originale nize...
On January 18, 2009, our World Community Grid project “Discovering Dengue Drugs-Together” resumed sending out workunits to grid clients around the world. This project has been off-line since September 13, 2008, when Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston, Texas and our university. We thank World Community Grid members for their support and patience as we rebuild our damaged infrastructure and community. Much is left to do to fully recover, but at least this project is restored.
Our initial projections as to how long it would take to restart operations were clearly overly optimistic. Recounting the myriad of large and mundane problems that were faced to get back on-line is a little mind-numbing at this point. However, in brief, most personnel on this project lost their homes and possessions, and needed to focus on family recovery. Our main computer cluster sustained damage and remains unstable (contrary to initial assessments). Disk storage components were lost to flood waters and have taken time to replace. Institutional support for this project was reduced as the University of Texas Medical Branch cut ~25% of its staff.
On the positive side, this project is now running better than ever before. We have moved our main computational tasks (those required to prepare workunits for World Community Grid and analyze results returned from the grid) to the supercomputers housed at the Texas Advanced Computer Center (TACC; http://www.tacc.utexas.edu) in Austin, Texas. Our pre- and post-processing calculations execute 10x faster in this environment compared to our in-house 30-node computer cluster. Thus, we have established a nice synergy between one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers and the world’s largest computer grid. Our storage capabilities have increased in (1) size with the local addition of IBM’s 12 TByte DS3200 disk subsystem and (2) robustness with redundant storage occurring at TACC and locally. Programs required to accurately calculate free energy of binding (Phase 2 of this project) have been tested and optimized at TACC, and are being ported to the grid. Thus, the computational side of this project is more powerful and dynamic than before Hurricane Ike.
The current tasks before us are clear. (1) We will resume pre-clinical characterization of potential dengue, West Nile, and hepatitis C virus protease inhibitors predicted by our Phase 1 calculations. Several Phase 1 compounds have shown promising in vitro activity. (2) Launch Phase 2 free energy of binding calculations to reduce the large false-positive rates associated with virtual screening. Finally, our newly established synergistic World Community Grid/TACC environment will help us tackle additional global health projects – with IBM’s support we are about to launch a collaborative drug discovery effort with researchers in South America to target the Leishmania parasite.
As stated before, we greatly appreciate the computer time that has been unselfishly provided by the members of the World Community Grid. Your interest and support has made this grid one of the most powerful computing resources on the planet!
All my best,