Data-intensive computing laying foundation for biological breakthroughs
Researchers in the Biopilot project are
developing new and innovative software
to help solve data-intensive computational
problems in biological research.
to solve society’s
and a “different
way” to analyze the
of data being
way is the goal of
the Data-Intensive Computing for Complex Biological Systems
(Biopilot) project—a joint research effort between the Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National
Laboratory funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of
Advanced Scientific Computing Research. The two national
laboratories are teaming to support areas of biological research
in urgent need of data-intensive computing capabilities.
Recent advances in high-throughput technologies have
generated an explosion of biological data. “Conventional
software isn’t able to efficiently deal with such massive data sets,” said project lead T.P. Straatsma, a PNNL senior scientist. The
Biopilot project is developing innovative and robust software
solutions to address large-scale, data-intensive computational
problems in biology and to make these new capabilities available
to the biology community.
“To really understand biological systems, we must
integrate its complex networks and pathways for a coherent
understanding of the system,” Straatsma said. “The more
different types of data you can integrate, the deeper are the
biological insights. Our goal is to create an integrated suite of
highly flexible, very adaptable computational tools for large-scale
data sets that will be used to address specific challenges facing
DOE and our society.”
Researchers in the Biopilot project are focusing on
three areas: peptide protein identification and quantification
algorithms for mass-spectrometry proteomics, massively parallel
solutions for high-throughput comparative genomics, and
large-scale integration of molecular and network modeling and
simulation with bioinformatics approaches.
“The ability to process and analyze massive amounts
of data and information in real time is powerful in making
breakthroughs and solving complex problems,” Straatsma said.
“The Biopilot project will play a major role.”
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.