Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, May 27, 2024

Genomics Workflows Get a Boost 

Accelerating genomics analysis remains one of the toughest challenges in life science research. All manner of optimizations are in use – disk streaming, optimized parallel files systems, algorithm tweaks, faster processors, and hardware accelerators, to name a few – all with varying results. TGAC, the U.K. genomics analysis center, this week reported implementation of the first processor specifically designed to accelerate the full gamut of next-generation sequencing analysis workflows, Edico Genome’s DRAGEN system.

Initial evaluations have looked extremely promising. DRAGEN mapping against the ash tree genome was 177 times faster per processing core than TGAC’s local HPC systems, requiring only seven minutes instead of three hours on one of the larger datasets. Alignment runs on the rice genome that take approximately two hours on TGAC’s HPC servers took just three minutes using DRAGEN. Not surprisingly the TGAC folks are excited.

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About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).