Livewire Lifescience Solutions Inc., a three-person company founded November last year, has landed a customer for its Linux-based high performance computer clusters.

The customer is using the cluster to analyze genome data from microarray experiments.

Livewire co-founder Michael Roberson tells Local Tech Wire he can’t name the client yet. “They’re preparing an announcement,” he says.

Computer clusters combine a number of PC level machines to create the powerful calculating abilities of supercomputers at much less cost. They evolved from work at NASA in the mid-1990s.

Roberson, who was with SAS for 16 years, says the company’s first customer is running a cluster of 30 1.8 gigahertz AMD Athalon dual processor computers with Red Hat Linux. “They’re getting 12 times the throughput at one-third the cost of their previous system in their drug discovery area,” he says.

The system costs in mid six figures for hardware and services.

Roberson heads the Raleigh office of the company. Jim Dhaliwal, chief executive officer and Scott Brown, chief technical officer, also co-founders, man a Toronto office of the dual headquartered company. They formed the company in November 2002.

“We’re self-funded and happy as clams about that,” Roberson says.

Livewire – no relation to Livewire Logic – offers complete cluster design, integration, implementation and maintenance. “We provide researchers with the computational resources needed for all phases of biological research,” Roberson says.

He says what differentiates Livewire from other high performance computer companies is that “We’re both a technology company and a bioinformatics company. We’ve developed our own technology for optimizing gene sequencing on a Linux cluster.”

He cites International Data Corp (IDC) of Framingham, MA, which says the current market for high performance computing is $1 billion annually and expected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2006.

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