Researchers have brought high-performance computing (HPC) into play to analyse genetics

The King's College London and NIHR Biomedical Research Centre's genomics facility has adopted the technology, normally out of the price range of all but the largest organisations, to analyse the 50 billion base pairs of usable DNA sequence that the department generates every 10 days.

The medical team said that the HPC system could reduce the time necessary to analyse this data 20-fold or more, reducing the time scales for analysis from days to hours.

A team from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has called on an IBM-based HPC system to help with research on genetics.

The HPC set-up has been put together by Sheffield-based OCF. It comprises an IBM's iDataplex server connected via 10Gb Ethernet switching modules from Blade Network Technologies, along with Panasas ActiveStor Series 8 clustered storage. OCF said that by building the HPC system on a high-performance storage system, researchers would benefit from faster access to data.

This faster analysis would help the medical researchers gain a better understanding of many common diseases. "The sequence of the human genome has been known for ten years now so we are using new sequencing technologies to sequence specific regions of the genome in large numbers of people in order to help understand the contributory factors to a variety of common complex disorders and developmental defects," said DrRebecca Oakey, reader in Epigenetics, Department of Medical & Molecular Genetics at King's College.