IBM and MU declared July 2 they would be partnering in a life science research project to build a "life sciences corridor" in the Midwest.
This corridor would spread across Missouri and Kansas, as well as throughout the Midwest. This would involve MU and IBM teaming up to use IBM computing technologies to assist bioinformatics research at the university. In a news release from IBM, the company said projects conducted between IBM and MU will include studying genome sequences in plants and animals to improve the quality and quantity of food production.
The eventual goal in the partnership is to create the first cloud computing technology for genomics research collaboration at a regional level.
Gordon Springer, associate professor in the MU Computer Science Department and scientific director of MU Bioinformatics Consortium, said the new partnership will greatly benefit the university.
"This collaboration with IBM provides our researchers and those being trained to become tomorrow's researchers and educators access to critical high performance computing resources needed to process massive data sets and apply increasingly more sophisticated bioinformatics tools and technologies," Springer said.
IBM will be giving MU an IBM iDataPlex high performance computing system with software that will add to the school's computing infrastructure. This will help to increase the speed in the process of DNA sequencing as well as become the storage center for the large amounts of data from that work.
This computing cloud is the first that would allow sharing of bioinformatics resources among universities and institutions in a geographic area of such a large magnitude. The entire project comes from an IBM Shared University Research Award, which comes from an IBM program that connects with universities to increase access to IBM technologies for the benefit of research and curriculum.
On May 17, IBM announced it would be sending 800 jobs to Columbia when it opens a new technology service delivery center set to open in fall 2010. It is projected that the delivery center will be completely employed with varying information technology positions at the end of 2012.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon took part in an official announcement with IBM to announce the creation of the service delivery center. In a news release, Nixon said the state of Missouri would be awarding IBM with $8.6 million from the Missouri BUILD program and an additional $14.7 million in Quality Jobs incentives.
"It is exciting that one of the world's most respected and recognizable brands in the IT industry has chosen mid-Missouri as the location for its new services delivery center, which will create 800 high-tech, competitive jobs," Nixon said.
Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid called the 800 jobs heading to Columbia high-quality, knowledge-based positions that will result in an enormous economic benefit to mid-Missouri and increase the quality of life for Columbia residents.
"I take great pride that our wonderful city will house a service delivery center for one of the world's greatest and most respected companies," McDavid said.
McDavid also heaped praise on former Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman as well as former city council members Karl Skala and Jerry Wade for nurturing the project.
McDavid and Nixon worked with the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Partnership and the Regional Economic Development, Inc., to sign a 10-year lease to renovate a building standing at 2810 Lemone Industrial Blvd.