NU launched a new computational system for genomic research and bioinformatics tasks solving

Researchers of the National Laboratory Astana at Nazarbayev University launched the first high-performance bioinformatics computational platform in Kazakhstan for dealing with complexity of “big genomic data” and solving problems in the field of bioinformatics.

– This platform uses “Qazaq symphony of bioinformatics” or Q-Symphony and other optimized bioinformatics methods to analyze large-scale human genomics data, to detect specific structural genomic variants, and to conduct complex comparative and population analysis. Previously it took up to two months to process one computational task, but now with Q-Symphony, it takes about seven days to complete this process! – commented Ulykbek Kairov, Leading researcher, Head of the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Center for Life Sciences, National Laboratory Astana.

For scientists and the research community of Kazakhstan, the data obtained using Q-Symphony will serve as the foundation for creating a reference database of genomic variants of Kazakh individuals and will have further applications in analyses of comparative population genomic variants described in the scientific literature. This computing platform makes it possible to more effectively apply the reference database of genomic variants in biomedical practice in order to evaluate new genetic variants in healthy individuals and patients with different pathologies within the Kazakh population.

In addition, this data can be used in medicine to improve the identification of diseases and select appropriate treatments.   It is essential for medical professionals to understand all that they can about the genomic characteristics of the population because the presentation of diseases and the efficacy of different drugs can be related to genetics.  This work can clarify the diagnosis of a patient with unclear etiology associated with human genetics, and can also be used in personalized medicine to identify genetic predispositions and prevent possible risks of developing pathologies, as well as to assess the effectiveness of different drugs depending on the patient’s genetic features.

The Q-Symphony system consists of four main nodes: an input or control node, a memory node, a network of computing nodes combined into one, and a storage node. All nodes are connected by a high-speed data exchange network Infiniband with a capacity of 100 Gb/s. The total capacity of computational nodes is 172 cores, 3072 GB of RAM and 198 TB of data storage.

Q-Symphony uses a special data caching system, with a volume of 3.2TB, which increases the  computational speed of  input-output data for individual tasks. The data is automatically transferred to regular disk drives. Moreover, the monitoring system provides convenient transparent display of resource loading and task execution in 3D visualization mode.