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Indiana to Host Computational Core for NSF-Funded Genomics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Indiana University plans to use $1.5 million in funding from the National Science Foundation to start a new center to support analysis of the large volumes of data generated by NSF-funded genomics research.

IU will use the grant to establish a National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS), which it will run in partnership with the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas, Austin, and the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego.

"This center will give biologists the tools to analyze gene sequence data that they cannot now study using existing systems," William Barnett, director, Science Community Tools at IU and the new center's director, said in a statement. "We plan to enable innovative and potentially transformative genomics research by providing tools and services that will accelerate important new scientific discoveries."

The NCGAS will serve as a core facility that supports NSF researchers who use genome assembly software, particularly for next-generation sequencing data, large-scale phylogenetic software, and other genome analysis platforms that require large amounts of memory.

The core will provide software support and services using IU's Mason large memory cluster, which is integrated with the NSF-funded Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery environment and will provide campus-based integration, as well as access to UCSD's Dash system.

Specifically, it will provide services such as cluster-based genome analysis software, storage of data sets, and a repository of open-source genome analysis software. These tools will support analyses of next-generation sequencer output for de novo assembly, metagenomics, and resequencing projects.

IU said that the grant also will fund the creation of three new positions at the university.

According to NSF, the NCGAS will establish a core of experts and software tools to support research on a variety of national cyberinfrastructure systems, and will provide a large memory cluster that is suited for such projects.

In an abstract describing the project, NSF stated that the center will provide "on demand" computational resources, and that it "aspires to become a sustainable model for the ongoing, and increasing, need for sequence analysis."