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EMBL Completes Proof-of-Concept for Genome Analysis on Europe's Scientific Cloud

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This week, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and its partners provided the results of the initial deployment of scientific computing applications on Europe's Helix Nebula scientific cloud computing platform.

EMBL is part of a European consortium that launched Helix Nebula earlier this year. Other partners include the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European Space Agency (ESA), and several commercial information technology providers (BI 3/2/2012).

According to the consortium, EMBL, CERN, and ESA succeeded in deploying their scientific applications — each involving tens of thousands of jobs running at data centers operated by Atos, CloudSigma, and T-Systems.

The EMBL team evaluated its genomic analysis pipeline in terms of scalability, performance, and on-demand provisioning of resources and fast data storage in each data center.

Paul Flicek, who heads vertebrate genomics at EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute, said his group is “happy” with the initial results of the test run, noting that “setting up sufficiently powerful computing infrastructures for genome analysis in the cloud is not trivial.”

Helix Nebula is intended to support the IT requirements of European scientists and to create a cloud computing market for the public sector in Europe. So far the project has received €1.8 million ($2.2 million) in funding from the European Commission.

When the project kicked off in March, the consortium said that the platform would be made available to governmental organizations and industry after a two-year pilot period (BI 3/2/2012).

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