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IBM, U of Missouri to Collaborate on Cloud Computing Resource for Genomics Research

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – IBM and the University of Missouri announced today that they plan to collaborate on a life sciences research initiative combining IBM computing technology with MU's bioinformatics research to develop cloud computing that is expected to support regional genomics research collaborations.

During the first phase of the project, IBM's iDataPlex high-performance computing system and software will be integrated into MU's existing computing infrastructure to not only speed up the institute's DNA sequencing and analysis capabilities but also to provide a data collection and storage resource.

In the second phase of the collaboration, the team plans to come up with a prototype genomics cloud computing environment, which will become operational and expand to a allow for bioinformatics resource sharing on a regional level during the final phase of the effort.

As such, IBM Director of University Alliances Elmer Corbin said in a statement that the project "will help establish the Midwest as a life sciences research hub."

Those involved say the anticipated IBM-MU genomics cloud will serve as a resource for extensive scientific collaboration, discovery, and data sharing that is expected to support current and future bioinformatics projects at MU.

From a clinical perspective, they anticipate that such a genomics cloud would also make it possible for health care professionals to access genome sequence and analysis data to support diagnoses and guide certain treatments.

Researchers at MU are currently involved in a range of genomic and bioinformatics studies ranging from plant and animal genome projects for improving food quality and quantity to infectious disease studies. The IBM-MU project is being done through an IBM Shared University Research Award.

"This collaboration with IBM provides our researchers, and those being trained to become tomorrow's researchers and educators, access to critical high performance computing resources needed to process massive data sets and apply increasingly more sophisticated bioinformatics tools and technologies," Gordon Springer, a computer science researcher at MU and scientific director of the University of Missouri Bioinformatics Consortium, said in a statement.

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