In 1999, the W.M. Keck Foundation provided a grant to UCSD to establish two computational satellites of the San Diego Supercomputer Center. The satellite sites opened early in 2001. One site (Keck 1) is in the Basic Science Building on the UCSD School of Medicine campus. The other (Keck 2) is in Urey Hall in the major Natural Sciences area at UCSD.
The 1999 grant provided support for the acquisition of computing equipment for the two satellites. The satellites are linked to SDSC and to each other by a gigabit network, which allows scientists at the three locations simultaneously to analyze large data-sets (obtained from experimental work or large-scale simulations). This distributed facility enables unprecedented levels of collaboration. It also enables the development of a new integrated biology from which future advances in drug discovery and other areas of medicine will spring. The vision of this new integrated biology was described as follows in the original proposal to the Keck Foundation.
"We are on the brink of a new era. Tremendous advances have occurred in biological, chemical and computational sciences over the past decade that are enabling a new synthesis of knowledge. We are convinced that breakthroughs in understanding biological processes will come through integrating data on biological structure and function across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Our vision of integrated biology is that of a new scientific paradigm, one that can demonstrate how cellular behavior emerges from the molecular level, how tissue behavior emerges from the cellular level, on up to the level of the whole organism.
"Synthesizing a continuum of biological understanding will become possible when we can create an integrated, interdisciplinary environment to construct new theoretical linkages among these levels. By building the proposed infrastructure of advanced computational tools, we will be creating a virtual laboratory where investigators from various disciplines and at different sites can work together simultaneously. It will improve our ability to collaboratively observe and analyze complex data, allowing us to integrate knowledge in new ways to provide new understanding about biological function."
Additional support for the distributed facilities has been provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, by the National Science Foundation, and by UCSD.
"This research was supported in part by W. M. Keck Foundation through computing resources at the W. M. Keck Laboratory for Integrated Biology.
Robert Konecny, Ph.D.