Maryland Science and Computing Firm Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

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High-performance computing firm Stone Ridge Technology received a two-year award from the National Science Foundation to develop custom solutions for faster processing of DNA sequencing data.

Bel Air-based science and technology firm Stone Ridge Technology announced today that the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the firm a two-year contract valued at $500,000. The NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant will fund the company’s work building and marketing a custom computing system designed to dramatically improve the speed and cost of processing the huge volumes of data associated with full genome sequencing.

According to Stone Ridge Technology president and founder Dr. Vincent Natoli, the firm will utilize its extensive knowledge of computer science, algorithms and hardware to build a specialized computer optimally designed to accelerate the computational processing required for DNA sequencing. Natoli says, “To put the computational challenge in perspective, it takes an average of 500 CPU hours to analyze the sequence data from one person’s DNA. With the ultimate goal of sequencing a large portion of the U.S. and global population, it’s critical to reduce that time and the associated costs to realize the medical and diagnostic benefits that this technology has to offer through widespread adoption.”

Stone Ridge will utilize Field Programmable Gate Arrays, or FPGA’s, to build the specialized high-performance computer. Says Natoli, “FPGA’s are ideal for the types of problems that emerge in the field of bioinformatics. For equivalent performance, they are five times less costly up front, 20 times less costly to operate and require 15 times less space than standard CPU-based alternatives.”

“The growth of sequence data has outpaced the improvements in CPU speeds by a factor of 1,000,” according to industry consultant Martin Gollery, CEO of Tahoe Informatics. “Through the application of FPGA technology to the tremendous challenges of next-generation sequence data analysis, the work Stone Ridge is doing through this grant will power discoveries in life sciences for years to come.”

Stone Ridge completed work on Phase I of the Small Business Innovation research grant in the first six months of 2010. The new Phase II contract begins this month and extends for a two-year period.

About Stone Ridge Technology – http://www.stoneridgetechnology.com
Founded in 2005, Stone Ridge Technology employs a team of physicists, computer scientists and electrical engineers committed to harnessing the performance advantage of extreme computing technologies. Headquartered in Bel Air, Maryland, the company serves national and global clients in the government, bioinformatic, energy and financial sectors.

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Dr. Vincent Natoli, Ph.D.
Stone Ridge Technology
(443) 299-7927
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