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EMBL Joins in European Cloud Computing Consortium

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A consortium of 18 European companies and research organizations have banded together to launch a cloud computing platform that will support large-scale research projects in genomics, physics, and natural disaster science, one of the participants, Cloud Sigma, said today.

Called Helix Nebula – the Science Cloud, the project initially will involve projects focused on research applications for cloud computing at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the CERN particle physics laboratory, the European Space Agency, and other partners.

The aim of the pan-European project will be to establish a sustainable cloud computing infrastructure that is supported by industrial partners and provides stable computing capacities and services, and which eventually supports the European Commission's digital agenda to create new commercial markets.

Under one of the first three demonstrative Helix Nebula projects, EMBL will set up a new service to simplify the analysis of large genomes, such as mammalian genomes, and which will enable scientists to dig deeper into evolutionary and biodiversity data coming from a range of organisms.

"The quantities of genomic sequence data are vast and the needs for high performance computing infrastructures and bioinformatics expertise to analyse these data pose a challenge for many laboratories," Robert Lueck, EMBL's head of IT Services, said in a statement. "EMBL's novel cloud-based whole-genome-assembly and annotation pipeline involves expertise from the Genomics Core facility in Germany, EMBL-EBI's institute at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Cambridge, UK, and EMBL Heidelberg's IT Services. It will help scientists, inside and outside EMBL, to overcome these hurdles and provision the right infrastructure on demand."

All three of the initial two-year projects will serve as proof-of-concept phases that will address the legal and policy constraints for managing scientific data among a group of commercial partners.

Along with CloudSigma, the commercial partners include Atos; Capgemini; Interoute; Logica; Orange Business Services; SAP; SixSq; Telefonica; Terradue; Thales; The Server Labs and T Systems. Other partners include the Cloud Security Alliance, the OpenNebula Project, and the European Grid Infrastructure.