SAN FRANCISCO--BGI, the world’s largest genomics institute announced on Wednesday (April 25) it would launch a new cloud-based service for researchers to do next-generation sequencing (NGS) bioinformatics analysis cheaply within the cloud.
The new cloud-based DNA sequencing service, dubbed “EasyGenomics,” uses a hybrid computing system featuring both CPUs and Nvidia GPUs for added acceleration, which the firm claims can cut the analysis of DNA big data from days to hours compared with CPU-only based systems.
Nvidia said its Tesla M2070 and M2075 GPUs were used in the system, in conjunction with system CPUs, though it’s unclear which CPUs BGI is using.
It’s hoped the platform will be used by biologists, bioinformaticists and, ultimately, physicians to develop better medicines, improve healthcare and develop genetically enhanced food, amongst other things.
“By enabling larger numbers of researchers to accelerate DNA sequencing data more easily and affordably, we hope to help facilitate the use of genomics for clinical diagnostics as a practical component of health care, as well as for complex disease research,” said Dr. Lin Fang, vice president at BGI.
Fang added that GPU acceleration was helping scientists analyze DNA sequencing data faster and that the cloud based EasyGenomics system “could one day revolutionize genomics research.”
BGI, based in Shenzhen, China, already has systems that perform genomic sequencing of a wide range of life forms—ranging from plants and E. coli to the giant panda.
The firm said it planned to upgrade the EasyGenomics service with “hundreds” of additional NVIDIA Tesla GPUs once the system was fully deployed, enabling it to support thousands of users. Free trials of the system start today for qualified biologists and bioinformaticists who apply on the company website.
“The ultimate dream is to have personalized medicine,” said Sumit Gupta, senior director of the Tesla business at Nvidia, adding that by sequencing our DNA we would quickly be able to find the unique issues, and prescribe treatments and medicines to help people live longer, healthier lives .
“This could be the year of the $1,000 genome due to rapid decline in sequencing costs,” he said adding that the EasyGenomics GPU cloud service brought that dream “one step closer” to reality.