Poland gives green light to Blue Gene project
IBM Blue Gene/Q, the most powerful single architecture supercomputer in Poland, has been chosen by The Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling, University of Warsaw (ICM) of Poland to support the country's largest biomedical and biotechnological research initiative, the Centre for Pre-clinical Research and Technology (CePT).
More than 500 life sciences and biomedical researchers, physicians and students, from a consortium led by The Medical University of Warsaw (WUM) and consisting of three universities and seven research centres of the Polish Academy of Sciences, will use the supercomputer and its supporting e-infrastructure to gain further insight into chronic diseases.
'CePT, a EUR 100 million project, aims to support Poland's transition towards more preventive and patient-centric healthcare,' said Dr Robert Sot, director of CePT, Warsaw University.
'The project will allow the medical community to provide a more holistic approach and open collaboration for the development of innovative treatments and drugs that will improve patients’ quality of life over the long term.'
Estimations show that more than a quarter of Poland’s ageing population has developed at least one or, very often, more chronic diseases such as: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory conditions, stroke, and neurological disorders. Early detection and timely diagnosis of these diseases translate into well-targeted and optimised healthcare, as well as improved quality of a patient's life.
Similar demands could stimulate the need to carry out clinical and pre-clinical tests covering three to five million Polish citizens, and generate massive volumes of valuable health data which can, in turn, be used by laboratories.
ICM's new BlueGene/Q, code named Nostromo, will help scientists process up to 16 terabytes of Big Data per sequence by running compute-intensive simulations at the speed of 209.7 trillion operations per second. The supercomputer will use algorithms moving beyond the 'routine' sequencing of human or animal genomes, to tackle more complex processes that will reveal the rare variants in human genetics, (i.e. those that cause predispositions to Alzheimers, cancer, diabetes, downs syndrome, etc.).
By understanding what prevents protein molecules, which build and maintain human bodies, from folding up properly and triggering a disease, scientists will be able to develop a new drug or treatment.