PRESS RELEASE February 7, 2002

Apple Releases Apple/Genentech BLAST, Significantly Accelerating Protein and DNA Searches For The Biomedical Community

Up To Five Times Faster Than 2-GHz Pentium 4-based Systems

CUPERTINO, California—February 7, 2002—Apple® today announced a breakthrough implementation of BLAST software that accelerates protein and DNA searches used in biomedical research and drug discovery. Apple/Genentech BLAST is up to five times faster than the standard BLAST implementation, the popular bioinformatics tool from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
Apple/Genentech BLAST provides improved accuracy and speed over the standard NCBI BLAST, depending on search parameters such as the nucleotide match-length. For certain common searches this version enables a dual 1-GHz Power Mac™ G4 computer to deliver more than five times the performance of a comparable 2-GHz Pentium 4-based system running the standard NCBI BLAST.
“Apple and Genentech have dramatically increased the performance of an important tool that biomedical researchers use every day,” said David Botstein, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Stanford University Genetics Department. “I’m impressed and delighted that a machine that a regular scientist can afford and run, such as the Power Mac G4, is as fast, or faster, than the industry standard BLAST running on more expensive machines.”
“We’re pleased to have collaborated with Apple on this project and to be able to make these performance improvements more widely available to the scientific community through the NCBI and Apple’s Advanced Computation Group,” said Richard H. Scheller, Ph.D., senior vice president of Research, Genentech. “The Apple/Genentech BLAST will allow researchers to more efficiently utilize genomic information in basic biomedical research and drug discovery.”
Developed by Apple’s Advanced Computation Group (ACG) in collaboration with Genentech, Inc. and the Stanford University Genetics Department, Apple/Genentech BLAST is a high-throughput version of BLAST which takes advantage of algorithmic improvements, advanced memory management and the ability of Apple’s PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine™ to perform multiple operations per clock cycle.
Apple is offering this advanced version of Apple/Genentech BLAST as Open Source software and is working with NCBI to make it easy for the biomedical community to utilize the new code as part of ongoing development. The code for Apple/Genentech BLAST, as well as analyses of its performance, are available for download at
Velocity Engine and Mac OS X: The Ultimate Science Platform
The PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine, coupled with the Open Source, UNIX-based core of Mac OS X, provides an incredibly productive platform for computational science. The ability of the Velocity Engine to prefetch data and perform multiple floating-point operations per clock cycle enables it to easily analyze the massive amounts of information coming from genome, protein and DNA sequencing projects. The newly released dual 1-GHz Power Mac G4, delivering an amazing 15 gigaflops, gives life scientists a powerful yet easy-to-use turnkey solution. Running Mac OS X, which combines the power of UNIX with the simplicity of the Mac®, the Power Mac G4 enables scientists to perform custom data analysis and use standard productivity applications on the same desktop, reducing costs and streamlining workflow.
Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.
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