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IBM Molecular Level Research Aims to Improve Paper Industry, Agricultural Sustainability

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According to a report this past week by Business Sector Media, LLC, Fort Collins, Colo., USA, IBM researchers in Australia have modeled cellulose at the molecular level — a step that the company claims will lead to more disease resistant crops as well as have the ability to strengthen the long-term sustainability of the pulp, paper, and fiber industry, one of the main users of cellulose.

The IBM scientists’ work, in partnership with the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland, is described in a scientific paper published in Plant Physiology, is part of a longer-term program to develop a 3D computer simulated model of the entire plant wall.

Dr. John Wagner, manager of computational sciences, IBM Research Australia, says the project combines the company’s expertise in computational biology, big data, and smarter agriculture.

Using the IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer at VLSCI known as Avoca, scientists were able to perform the quadrillions of calculations required to model the motions of cellulose atoms. The research shows that within the cellulose structure, there are between 18 and 24 chains present within an elementary microfibril, much less than the 36 chains that had previously been assumed.

Earlier this month, IBM said that the German Climate Computing Center is using its big data technology and services to manage the world’s largest climate simulation data archive, used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.



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