Chinese tackling human genome with NVIDIA GPUs

Jan 7, 2012
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Chinese tackling human genome with NVIDIA GPUs

Analyzing data of the human genome is no small task. However, with the help of graphic chips, what once took genome sequencing centers days to complete, can be done in six hours. To accomplish this, BGI, a lab headquartered in Shenzhen, China, have given their servers a facelift with Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) built by Nvidia. That's right, the same hardware that outputs images onto personal computers around the world, could account for major advances in the medical field.

GPUs were originally found in desktop PCs, but have since moved on to use in mobile phones and video game consoles. Their popularity rose partly because of their efficiency in handling an intense amount of sequencing data in a timely manner. This, coupled with their very low cost, makes them a great processor over standard CPUs. The result BGI saw from the heavy reliance of a GPU was huge, but where do geneticists go from here?

Geneticists are still unraveling the finer details of the human genome. Although scientists are now able to retrieve the data at a quicker rate, they are still unsure what to do with it, according to Kevin Davies, editor-in-chief of Bio-IT World. The human genome is so dynamic with many varieties, that it takes researchers a great deal of time to determine which variety is medically significant. However, this is definitely a stepping stone of what is to come in the medical field.

[via Wired]


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