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Biologists get HPC power to their desktops

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Biomatters has released the latest version of its DNA sequence analysis software ‘Geneious’, which will include a feature that allows users to access supercomputer power directly from within the application.  

Candace Toner, CEO of Biomatters, said: ‘This service will give all biologists, from students through professional researchers anywhere in the world, the ability to concentrate on their chosen science and analysis rather than spend time optimising and configuring clusters of computers. It’s like having a supercomputer inside your laptop, and can be accessed anywhere in the world – all you need is Geneious and a broadband connection.’

This service, called ‘The Green Button’ from InterGrid, lets researchers run complex ‘MrBayes’ algorithms on Gen-i’s grid-based New Zealand Supercomputer Centre. Users of Geneious can sign up for the service once and then access supercomputer power whenever they need to turbo-charge their analysis. This service will be available to users of both the ‘free’ and ‘Pro’ versions of Geneious.

MrBayes is used by biologists and bioinformaticians to understand the evolution of genetic sequences and is often used by researchers to track the evolution of viruses such as HIV or influenza, as well as to clarify the evolutionary relationships of animals, such as birds to dinosaurs. However, this analysis can take days or weeks to run on a desktop computer. This new service can reduce the time to perform this complex analysis to minutes or hours.

‘I just wish this technology had been available sooner; it would have cut the computing time for my recent Science paper with John Huelsenbeck (inventor of MrBayes) in more than half! It's amazing to have such an easy-to-use supercomputer sitting on my laptop,’ said Marc A. Suchard, assistant professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. 

Gen-i’s New Zealand Supercomputer Centre has hundreds of processors available to Geneious users, and can scale its capacity as demand requires. The facility provides a range of on-demand services, from processing to applications and storage. These resources are available on-tap, without the end user needing to invest in infrastructure.

Users of the ‘Green Button’ only pay for the actual time taken on the supercomputer and will be able to pay via credit card, PayPal or on account. Biomatters plans to add the ‘Green Button’ to other computing intensive applications later in the year.