High-performance computing (HPC) technology has become a mainstay in scientific research because of its ability to perform up to trillions of operations per second. This level of performance is necessary when processing large volumes of research data by putting them through complex calculations.

HPC has helped organizations in the life sciences to break new ground in research. For example, HPC played a key role in the development of genomics, a method for making sense of gene sequences. Organizations in the life sciences industry use larger and larger volumes of data to discover and develop new drugs and treatments. HPC helps these organizations analyze this data more quickly and accurately to get new medications to the market and improve patient outcomes.

As HPC evolves, life sciences organizations will uncover new use cases for the technology. In the future, HPC will enable them to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) for deeper insights and accelerated problem solving, such as developing new treatments for COVID-19 and cancer.

HPC, AI, and the Future of Life Sciences

AI enables machine learning and deep learning, the process through which a computer can teach itself without being programmed. For the life sciences, AI is instrumental in making sense of complex, unstructured data, such as imaging scans.

HPC helps life sciences organizations leverage AI for deep insights. In HPC, clusters of nodes are capable of processing large volumes of data by carrying out numerous complex calculations at lightning speed. By performing billions or trillions of operations per second, HPC powers AI’s ability to find connections between data sets to reach deep insights about the causes and treatment of diseases.

HPC and the War Against Cancer

The war against cancer isn’t new, but the use of HPC in the battle is. HPC’s role in the evolution of genomics has given rise to new methods for diagnosing cancer and finding possible treatments.

Caris Life Sciences is in the forefront of genomics, using HPC technology to make data meaningful by combing patient information for insights. Caris uses HPC to carry out molecular profiling of patients to reach diagnoses at the molecular level.

Caris produces more data per patient than any other life sciences organization, generating half a terabyte of patient data per day. The organization then uses this data to uncover genomic alterations that signal the presence of cancer. Using HPC technology, Caris can gain deep insights for how to customize cancer treatments.

HPC on the COVID Frontline

The pandemic has created a sense of urgency for the life sciences community. As the number of infections and deaths skyrocketed early in the pandemic, the need to develop a vaccine and better treatments quickly became clear. HPC has the compute power necessary to carry out complex research quickly for actionable results in this time of crisis.

Nature reported that in 2020 and 2021, a special prize was awarded to researchers who used HPC to understand COVID-19, its spread, and treatment. Some finalists used HPC technology to design anti-viral drugs. Assisted by the Summit supercomputer, they leveraged natural language processing (NLP), to screen potential drugs. HPC empowered the researchers to analyze a textual representation of 9.6 billion molecules.

Another research team used HPC to study the lifecycle of COVID through modeling and simulations. This team was assisted by the Perlmutter and ThetaGPU supercomputers, which helped show how COVID replicates, giving insights into possible treatments. Yet another team focused research on how COVID is spread through aerosolized particulates.

HPC on the Frontier of Life Sciences

For life sciences organizations that want to be at the forefront of medical research and development, deploying HPC is vital. The speed and computing power of HPC opens new possibilities for diagnosis and treatment using the deep insights gained by AI.

Re-Store has a successful track record of helping organizations in the field of life science leverage HPC for better treatment and diagnosis methods. We worked with Caris to develop an HPC solution that incorporated IBM storage for more efficient processing and management of research data so the organization can carry out its groundbreaking work.

Learn more about how Re-Store has helped Caris and other organizations use HPC to revolutionize the way they work. Watch our industry videos.