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11 May, 2016 - 11:10 By Kate Sweeney

Genomics research powers up with new supercomputer

tgac,genomics, norwich

The Genome Analysis Centre in Norwich has invested in what it believes is gamechanging capability to boost international genomics research.

TGAC’s new supercomputing platform gives the research Institute access to the next-generation of SGI UV technology for genomics.

It leverages the world’s largest SGI® UV™ 300 installation for Life Sciences, with one of the largest Intel® SSD for PCIe deployments worldwide.

The extra capability enables TGAC researchers to store, categorise and analyse more genomic data in less time for decoding living systems and answering crucial biological questions.

Paired with flash storage, the combined 24TB SGI UV 300 supercomputers can increase processing speeds of heavy workloads in scientific research by 80 per cent.

This combination of leading-edge technology allows TGAC researchers to benefit from the faster processing capabilities of the SGI UV 300, providing an extraordinarily powerful platform for genomics analysis.

In particular, the system will dramatically reduce the time to perform large genome assembly that TGAC researchers specialise in, as well as the analysis of wheat genotype and phenotype data generated by the ‘Seeds of Discovery’ programme.

TGAC will use the pioneering SGI HPC technology to enable faster analysis of complex genomes which require both large memory and fast processing capabilities, providing a powerful boost to TGAC’s research projects.

This will include sequencing and assembling multiple lines of wheat with the Institute’s ‘w2rap’ assembly software – developed by the algorithm development team led by Bernardo Clavijo.

The new technology will also be used to aid the development of novel analysis techniques for data integration by taking advantage of the larger, faster memory-per-core specifications of the system and its accelerated I/O capabilities from the NVMe SSDs. This will provide a significant speedup of data movement between the hardware and TGAC’s genome analysis software.

Dr Tim Stitt, head of scientific computing at TGAC, said: “Continuing our successful collaborations with SGI and Intel in deploying novel and innovative computing technology, the new SGI UV 300 appliance with NVMe SSDs will undoubtedly be a leader in-field of genomic analysis.

“With the unique shared-memory technology from SGI and Intel’s leading processor and non-volatile memory storage solutions, this system will set the new yardstick for large-scale data-intensive bioinformatics computations.

“The combination of processor performance, memory capacity and one of the largest deployments of Intel SSD storage worldwide makes this a truly powerful computing platform for the life sciences.”

Ketan Paranjape, general manager of Intel’s Life Sciences team, added: “Knowledge of plant and animal genomes can lead to breakthroughs in drug discovery, food safety, and more, helping us to better manage climate change, feed a growing population, and mitigate the impact of newly emergent diseases.

“With the SGI UV 300 system, Intel Xeon Processor E7 v3 product family and Intel DC P3700 SSDs with NVMe, TGAC can now assemble large plant and animal genomes in record times that, until a few months ago, were impossible.”
 

Kiss Communications

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