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16 November, 2017 - 10:55 By Kate Sweeney

Quadram Institute on Cloud Nine after double award for CLIMB

Mark Pallen Quadram Institute Norwich

The MRC-funded Cloud Infrastructure for Microbial Bioinformatics (CLIMB) was recognised in the annual HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards at the 2017 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, in Denver, Colorado.

CLIMB, with key input from the Quadram Institute in Norwich, received two accolades.

The first was for ‘Best Use of HPC in Life Sciences’ for real-time analysis of Zika genomes, supported by Lenovo, OpenStack, IBM, Red Hat and Dell EMC. The second was ‘Best HPC Collaboration (Academia/Government/Industry)’ for CLIMB drawing on Lenovo, OpenStack, IBM Spectrum Scale, Red Hat, and DELL EMC to provide resources for projects that globally impact public health.

CLIMB is a UK-based cloud-computing project funded by the Medical Research Council and available to all UK-based microbiologists, providing them with a powerful computational environment to store, analyse and reuse data. 

CLIMB helps the UK microbial research community to analyse the vast amounts of data generated by next generation sequencing. 

Many academics don’t have the resources needed to perform microbial bioinformatics analysis to interpret this data: CLIMB overcomes this bottleneck.

Currently, it supports over 200 research groups from across academia, government agencies and health services. The CLIMB project also encompasses refurbished bioinformatics space, training courses and three research fellowships.

Professor Mark Pallen, research leader at the Quadram Institute and principal investigator on the CLIMB project said: “It’s great that our CLIMB consortium has been recognised for the contributions we are making to tackling global health problems. I have to thank our great team for their fantastic efforts in maintaining this remarkable resource.”

CLIMB began life in 2014 and was one of the first multi-site OpenStack deployments in the UK dedicated to supporting the needs of research computing. 

Through CLIMB, microbiologists can access hundreds of CPUs, thousands of gigabytes of RAM and tens of terabytes of storage dedicated to their research. 

The CLIMB infrastructure runs OpenStack and is made up of Lenovo SystemX servers with 512GB–3TB of RAM and up to 240 cores, enabling researchers to request huge amounts of computing resource on the fly. Storage is provided by IBM StorWise with IBM Spectrum Scale and Red Hat Ceph running on Dell servers.

As a national resource. providing large-scale data storage and computing capacity on demand, CLIMB achieves efficiency of scale, reducing costs to the public purse by optimising use of hardware.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Professor Mark Pallen

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