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A roundup of the latest high-tech and life science news from regional firms:

• Lenovo launches high-powered workstation for $599

MORRISVILLE, N.C. – will roll out a powerful new workstation later this month for $599. The ThinkStation E20 is designed to provide processing power for computer aided design and digital content creation.

“We’ve found there are a number of CAD and DCC professionals who are currently getting by on desktop PC hardware due to budget constraints,” said, Mark Cohen, vice president of enterprise products at Lenovo. “They’re running workstation-class applications and could benefit from using true workstation hardware. We designed the ThinkStation E20 with these users in mind to put true workstation performance within their reach and enable them to realize significant productivity gains associated with using the right tool for the job.”

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• Clinton Health Initiative deploys SAS software in HIV fight

CARY, N.C. – The Clinton Health Access Initiative, founded by President Clinton in 2002, is using business analytics software from in its efforts to combat a variety of diseases such as HIV.

Known as CHAI, the Clinton Initiative is using SAS to help manage resources, costs and information.

“Without true cost and impact information, people don’t always make optimal decisions,’’ said Megan O’Brien, the research director for CHAI’s Center for Strategic HIV Operations Research. “Decision making improves when donors, governments and medical providers understand best- and worst-case scenarios, and trade-offs along the way.”

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• Alaskan city switches street lights to Cree LEDs

DURHAM, N.C. – Light emitting diode and semiconductor firm (Nasdaq: CREE) is working with the city of Valdez, Alaska, to concert all its 343 street lights to LEDs.

Valdez is the latest city to join Cree’s “LED City” plan. The city of Raleigh also is a participant.

Bert Cottle, the mayor of Valdez, estimates the change to LED lighting will reduce energy costs by 45 percent.

“As we look ahead and anticipate rising energy costs, investing in LED technology becomes even more attractive,” Cottle said. “Community feedback on the initial lights has been overwhelmingly positive. Valdez citizens like the quality and color of the new LED lights and they are happy about the projected energy and maintenance cost savings.”

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