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Microsoft, IBM working with N.C. Research Campus

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
KANNAPOLIS ó Computer technology giants Microsoft and IBM have burgeoning partnerships with the N.C. Research Campus.
Both companies are working with the David H. Murdock Research Institute, the public charity that owns and operates the Core Laboratory at the Research Campus in Kannapolis.
The relationships with IBM and Microsoft are important but still formative, said Dr. Kenneth Russell, chief information officer for the Murdock Research Institute.
He said the companies will collaborate with the institute and play an active role at the Research Campus, which focuses on human health, nutrition and agriculture.
“We are looking for partners, not vendors,” Russell said. “This is different than going out and buying services and products.”
Microsoft will help scientists turn information into discovery.
The institute will use Microsoft’s new software system, Amalga Life Sciences, which was introduced in April. The software should help scientists better understand massive amounts of data generated in the institute’s 11 laboratories.
IBM, the largest computer company in the world, is working with the institute and N.C. State University to open a virtual computing laboratory in Kannapolis, Russell said.
“We are still configuring at this point,” he said.
N.C. State, one of eight schools with a presence at the 350-acre Research Campus, already has a similar lab at its main campus, and “efforts are in place” to extend the capability to Kannapolis, Russell said.
The lab provides a virtual training environment and allows technicians to install and test software before putting it into real use, he said.
IBM is exploring other opportunities with the Research Campus, said Dr. Michael Luther, president of the Murdock Research Institute.
IBM’s senior executive from North Carolina, Edward Macko, visited the campus recently. Luther said he and Macko are longtime friends and were “talking about opportunities.”
Luther said it’s too early to give details.
He mentioned IBM during a biotech panel discussion Wednesday sponsored by the N.C. Technology Association and held in the Core Lab Building.
The Murdock Research Institute, funded through a grant from campus founder and Dole Food Co. owner David Murdock, works to support research efforts in Kannapolis and meet the needs of both academia and industry.
With more than 20 full-time employees and an arsenal of multimillion dollar equipment, the organization’s goal is to “become the fulcrum of nutrition and life sciences research.”

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