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SDSC's 'big data' expertise aiding genomics research
Date:3/20/2012

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, has in the last three years undergone a major reboot, remaking itself into a center of expertise on all aspects of "big data" research including genomics, one of the fastest growing areas of scientific study.

"We have in recent years become a lot more than a supercomputer center," SDSC Director Michael Norman told attendees earlier this month at the third annual X-Gen Congress & Expo, a four-day event focused on exploring the potential of established and emerging genomic technologies. "Our real expertise is now in all aspects of 'big data', which includes data integration, performance modeling, data mining, software development, workflow automation, and more. We believe that data-enabled science is the beginning of a new scientific era."

SDSC's creation of a fully integrated "big data" environment already has led to several projects in the study of genes, and more are underway. "Our focus in genomic medicine is growing," said Norman.

"Next-generation sequencing of DNA and RNA are profoundly transforming biology and medicine, providing insight into our origins and diseases," according to Wayne Pfeiffer, a distinguished scientist at SDSC. "However, obtaining that insight from the sequencer data deluge requires complex software and increasingly powerful computers."

SDSC has an expanding repertoire of "big data" systems, the latest being Gordon, a unique flash memory-based supercomputer that is capable of storing 100,000 entire human genomes, while operating hundreds of times faster than conventional computers to study genetic data.

Genetic data creates many additional requirements regarding sharing and computing. The iDASH center (integrating Data for Analysis, Anonymization, and Sharing), under the leadership of Lucila Ohno-Machado, is the most recent National Center for Biomedical Computing funded under the National Institutes of He
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Contact: Jan Zverina
jzverina@sdsc.edu
858-534-5111
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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