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Computer capacity to get huge boost

The Milwaukee Institute will spend $1 million to add two petabytes of computer storage capacity - estimated to be enough to hold all of the information in a stack of phone books stretching from Milwaukee to the moon, the nonprofit group's chairman said Thursday.

The institute is working to dramatically expand high-performance computing, high-speed data transport and mass data storage capacity and offer it at little or no cost to help southeastern Wisconsin's academic and industrial researchers.

The biggest users of the additional capacity will be the Medical College of Wisconsin's genomic and systems biology researchers, said John Byrnes, Milwaukee Institute chairman and executive managing di rector at Mason Wells, the largest private equity firm based in the state.

The system expansion also will include 3,400 cores of processing speed, Byrnes said. One core can handle nearly 1 trillion instructions per second.

The institute hopes to have the expansion completed by early 2013. The new equipment will be housed at Midwest Fiber Networks in Milwaukee's Fifth Ward, one of four local technology businesses that are working with the institute.
The others are Paragon Development Systems, Tushaus Computer Services, and Data Holdings, a $36 million data center in Milwaukee's Concordia neighborhood planned by the Potawatomi tribe.

Byrnes provided details about the system expansion in a presentation to about 70 people at a Wisconsin Innovation Network lunch Thursday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Wauwatosa.

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