BGI Launches Joint Bioinformatics & Computing Lab with National Supercomputing Center

BGI Launches Joint Bioinformatics & Computing Lab with National Supercomputing Center
March 25, 2012, Tianjin, and Shenzhen, China—BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, has launched a joint bioinformatics & computing laboratory with National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin (NSCC-TJ) to promote the interdisciplinary cooperation in the fields of supercomputing and biological science as well as to boost the rapid development of OMICS-related industries.


The new laboratory, called Tianhe-BGI Bioinformatics and Computing Joint Laboratory, is located in Binhai New Area of Tianjin, China. "Tianhe" denotes "Tianhe-1A", the second fastest supercomputer in the world achieving the speed of 2.57 petaflops/s, currently installed at NSCC-TJ. Based on the powerful computing capacity of NSCC-TJ and the profound experience of multi-omics research at BGI, this partnership will help to enhance the applications of Tianhe-1A and address many scientific challenges in life science.


Researchers from the two organizations will conduct an initial project on optimizing the pipeline of bioinformatics analysis and devote to developing much stronger bioinformatics tools and algorithm for quickly handling various biological questions that need massive calculation and analysis based on high-performance computing to dig out the inherents of life science from the flood of genomic data.


"In the next step, we will establish a comprehensive bioinformatics & computing platform based on Tianhe-1A. It will focus on the research and development of the high-performance software with higher efficiency, including standard analysis software, the analytical pipeline and tools for enormous data, among others." said, Guangming Liu, Director of CSCC-TJ, "We hope this new laboratory could greatly promote the applications of genomic technologies in agriculture, drug discovery and human health in Binhai New Area, and make more contributions to the society."


Professor Jian Wang, President of BGI, said, "In the past, it took a year to conduct a project on the genomics association study of 500 human samples, but now with "Tianhe", 3 hours is enough. We believe this will broaden the applications of Tianhe-1A in life science and greatly accelerate the development of frontier of science and technology."


In last September, BGI-Tianjin was founded in Tianjin Airport Economic Zone with the aim to build a genomics research center and production base in North China for supporting the fields of public healthcare, medical treatment, bio-energy development, agricultural breeding and bio-resource conservation, among others.


About Tianhe-1A


Tianhe-1A, an upgraded supercomputer, was unveiled in October 2010. It is now equipped with 14,336 Xeon X5670 processors and 7,168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 general purpose GPUs. 2,048 FeiTeng 1000 SPARC-based processors are also installed in the system. The Tianhe-1A system is composed of 112 computer cabinets, 12 storage cabinets, 6 communications cabinets, and 8 I/O cabinets. Each computer cabinet is composed of four frames, with each frame containing eight blades, plus a 16-port switching board. Each blade is composed of two computer nodes, with each computer node containing two Xeon X5670 6-core processors and one Nvidia M2050 GPU processor. The supercomputer is installed at the National Supercomputing Center, Tianjin, and is used to carry out computations for petroleum exploration and aircraft design. It is an "open access" computer, meaning it provides services for other countries. The supercomputer will be available to international clients.


About National Supercomputing Center of Tianjin


The National Supercomputing Center of Tianjin is located at the National Defense Science and Technology University in Tianjin, China. The currently the second fastest supercomputer in the world (see "The TOP500 Project" list of supercomputers), Tianhe-1A, is located at the facility.


As the National Supercomputing Center, the facilities came under the direction (purview) of the National Supercomputing Center council, consisting of members of the National Defense Science and Technology University, the various departments of the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Zone, and the Tianjin Binhai New Area Administrative Committee. The facilities have been used by various people through the Beijing and Tianjin area. The center was built with the purpose of encouraging and initiating technological development and scientific innovation in the Tianjin Binhai New Area.