Science Week'08: Biological bytes

The activity includes a visit to the supercomputer MareNostrum, located in an old chapel © BSC

The activity includes a visit to the supercomputer MareNostrum, located in an old chapel © BSC

IRB Barcelona and BSC open up the Experimental Bioinformatics Laboratory to explain the research into the life sciences performed by the supercomputer MareNostrum.

Barcelona hosts one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, MareNostrum, which is equipped with 10,240 processors and has the capacity to perform 94 billion operations per second. Many of the calculations address biomedical questions. The Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), which manages the supercomputer, and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), centre devoted to basic investigation into biomedicine with which BSC has established a research agreement, have programmed a talk on the benefits of biocomputation, followed by a visit to the MareNostrum supercomputer, located in an old chapel, and also to the Experimental Bioinformatics Laboratory. This event, which is addressed to the general public, will be held on 20 November and forms part of the programme of activities to mark Science Week.

The complexity of life is so great, the number of data on genes, proteins, molecular processes and networks so huge, that many bytes of calculation are required to model and forecast what occurs within a cell, what goes wrong in disease or to anticipate the effects of a new drug on the body. This is what is known as “in silico” modelling. After, the computer-simulated experiments have to be transferred to reality and the predictions must be proved in a classical laboratory.

For the last year, BSC and IRB Barcelona have been cooperating closely on finding the answers to diseases. Fruit of a collaboration agreement, the two organisations have set up the Experimental Bioinformatics Laboratory (EBL) whose function is to test the simulated biomedical experiments made by MareNostrum.

IRB Barcelona researcher, Montserrat Soler, manager of the EBL, will give a talk entitled "Computation and biomedicine: parallel tracks" and will accompany the participants during their visit to the supercomputer and the EBL, the latter located at the Barcelona Science Park, which hosts IRB Barcelona. The activity will be held on Thursday 20 November from 11h to 13h. Only 30 places are available and a previous reservation must be made via e-mail to

"Computació i Biomedicina: camins paral·lels", a talk given by Montserrat Soler, followed by a visit around the MareNostrum supercomputer and the Experimental Bioinformatics Laboratory. Talk to be given in Catalan or Spanish.
Day: Thursday, 20 November
Time: from 11h to 13h
Place: c/ Jordi Girona, 31 (Torre Girona) and after c/ Baldiri Reixac, 15.
How to get there:
Number of places: 30. General Public. FREE ACCESS.
Reservations:; Contact: Sara Ibáñez: 93 413 75 14