Single Source Procurement: Microway Computer Cluster Expansion

The Department of Health Wadsworth Center's Public Health Bioinformatics Group received approval for a one-time single source Contract Reporter Exemption Request approval for the purchase of a computing cluster from Microway Inc. as discussed below.

The Public Health Genomics Bioinformatics Group, along with Wadsworth's 3-Dimensional Electron Microscopy Group (3D-EM), the Lab of Cellular & Molecular Basis of Diseases, and Computational & Structural Biology all perform analysis of large and complex datasets from next generation sequencing, which requires the use of high performance computing power that has the ability to expand data and perform analysis at rapid speed. These programs include Wadsworth researchers who develop and use the latest advances in electron microscopy and image processing to study cellular processes, disease mechanisms and microbial pathogens.

As research continues to evolve, and projects become more complex, analysis of datasets involving intensive classifications, complex sequences and real-time detection become much larger. The success of the research programs rely on a system capable of expanding in not only memory, but enhanced high performance computing power. The proposed cluster will operate as an extension of the existing proprietary Microway node cluster currently being utilized by Wadsworth's researchers. Seamless compatibility and integration with the existing system is crucial to avoid any form of system glitch or failure that would jeopardize current datasets, testing, or research being performed. The new cluster runs on the same Linux operating system distribution, queuing software, and parallel application software as the existing cluster developed by Microway. Thus allowing it to be integrated with all of the existing components, including the existing compute nodes and smaller storage servers.

The cluster is configured as a "Beowulf cluster" with Ethernet connectivity and is almost exclusively dedicated to "floating point" calculation. Most clusters today are used for commercial applications such as database access, support of web servers, or financial calculations which are overwhelmingly integer based. The computers and cluster configurations optimal for floating point calculations are completely different than those for integer use. Such clusters require expertise in building systems for scientific research applications; such as Microway. Microway will design and configure the proprietary cluster networking software specific to Wadsworth's exact requirements, along with seamless integration of the existing system. The proprietary configuration includes support for queuing software for shared use, and support for parallel use of Message Passing Interface (MPI) and Open Multi Processing (OpenMP) programming. Microway configures, installs, and integrates each component and thoroughly tests the system prior to final QC and shipment.

Wadsworth Centers Computer Support Services Group (IT) will assist Microway during installation, networking and routine support of the new system. Wadsworth's IT group has the necessary training and experience with the current system to provide ongoing support of software installation, backup of file-systems and overall routine support of both the existing and new Microway clusters thus eliminating the need for new user, or support training.

Procurement / Program Name Microway Computer Cluster Expansion
Contractor Name(s) Microway, Inc.
Contract Period One Time Purchase
Contract Number(s) N/A