College Park, Md. -- DNA sequencing is the next frontier in biological research.As new sequencing technology becomes more efficient and affordable, it is increasingly available to small laboratories. Thus, sequencing data is being generated at a faster rate than ever before.
However, the computing capacity needed to analyze such vast amounts of data still has some catching up to do. Large networks of interconnected computers, called computer clusters, are required to analyze these data. Expensive to establish and maintain, these computer clusters are generally available only to labs that can afford them.
Enter Mihai Pop, an assistant professor in the department of computer science and in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Maryland. He and colleague Steven Salzberg, director of the center and Horvitz Professor of computer science, recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation Cluster Exploratory Program (CluE) to fund research aimed at discovering how remote cluster computers, computer networks available over the internet, might be used to process DNA sequence data.
"There is a new initiative by NSF to figure out what you can do with cluster computers on the internet - like the ones through Amazon, Google, and IBM," Pop said. "Our NSF grant will be used to find out if remote clusters of computers are a better option for DNA sequence analysis than local clusters of computers."
Pop's goal is to develop the software required to analyze sequence data in parallel (on many computers simultaneously). This massively parallel computing allows faster gene sequence alignment and genome assembly.
While parallel computing is already being used on locally maintained computer clusters, Pop will be working on programs that will allow researchers to perform their DNA sequence over the web by accessing remote computer clusters maintained by large companies on a pay-per-us
|Contact: Lee Tune|
University of Maryland