Now, Nekrutenko's team has taken Galaxy to the next level by developing an "in the cloud" option using, for example, the popular Amazon Web Services cloud. "A cloud is basically a network of powerful computers that can be accessed remotely without the need to worry about heating, cooling, and system administration. Such a system allows users, no matter where they are in the world, to shift the workload of software storage, data storage, and hardware infrastructure to this remote location of networked computers," Nekrutenko explained. "Rather than run Galaxy on one's own computer or use Penn State's servers to access Galaxy, now a researcher can harness the power of the cloud, which allows almost unlimited computing power." As a case study, the authors report on recent research published in Genome Biology in which scientists, with the help of Ian Paul, a professor of pediatrics at Penn State's Hershey Medical Center, analyzed DNA from nine individuals across three families using Galaxy Cloud. Thanks to the enormous computing power of the platform, the researchers were able to identify four heteroplasmic sites -- variations in mitochondria, the part of the genome passed exclusively from mother to child.
"Galaxy Cloud offers many advantages other than the obvious ones, such as computing power for large amounts of data and the ability for a scientist without much computer training to use DNA-analysis tools that might not otherwise be accessible," Nekrutenko said. "For example, researchers need not invest in expensive computer infrastructure to be able to perform data-intensive, sophisticated scientific analyses."
Yet another advantage of Galaxy Cloud is its data-storage capacity. Using the Amazon Web Services cloud, researchers
|Contact: Barbara Kennedy|