David Wallom, Technical Director of the NGS, explained: "Through their membership of the NGS the large user community at the institute will be able to easily access NGS compatible services. Exposing these services using interfaces compatible with the NGS, will show the value of open standards allowing new tools to be used by genome researchers hopefully speeding their research and obtaining new and interesting research results."
Modern day sequencing technologies in the life sciences have raised data acquisition rates to unprecedented levels resulting in an increased demand for computational power to analyse the resulting data. Today with new sequencing technologies, large sequencing centres can completely sequence and assemble the equivalent of at least one genome every few days. This has led the way for very large population studies such as the 1000 Genomes project now in progress and others to undertake extremely large sequencing projects. Another example is the International Cancer Genome Consortium that will undertake to sequence the equivalent of some 40.000 genomes worth of data.
Phil Butcher, Head of IT at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, explained why they became a member of the NGS. "The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute believes that distributed Grid and virtual compute models are critical to enable global collaboration to collate and analyse this data. With regard to very large computational and data handling in the multi-Petabyte scale we are following in the footsteps of High Energy Physicists who have been doing this for many years. We are therefore extremely pleased to be given the opportunity to take these first steps to investigate Grid technologies in partnership with the NGS and in return to offer some of our resources to the NGS."
The institute will initially be providing 28 cores (32bit) with an additional 112 cores (64bit) coming on-line soon to the NGS. Each core has 1GB of main memory and the cluster runs the Debian Etch 4.0 operating system.