QCRI’s Computational Science and Engineering center conducts research in bioinformatics and high performance computing.
Bioinformatics is the field of science in which biology, computer science, statistics and information-based technology form a single discipline.
The science of Bioinformatics, which is the melding of molecular biology with computer science, is essential to the use of genomic and proteomic information in understanding human diseases and in the identification of new molecular targets for drug discovery.
In the past 10 years, a bioinformatics concern was the creation of a large database to store biological and biomedical information, such as nucleotide and amino acid sequences.
Development of this type of database involved not only design issues, but the development of complex interfaces whereby researchers could both access existing data and submit new or revised data.
However, the field of Bioinformatics has evolved to the point that the most pressing task now involves the analysis and interpretation of various types of data, including nucleotide and amino acid sequences, protein domains, and protein structures.
Important sub-disciplines within bioinformatics include:
Work at QCRI’s bioinformatics center involves collaboration on diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer sciences, biology, statistics, and economics. We also aim to develop genomic, proteomics, and bioinformatic tools that can be applied to study infectious diseases as well as a drug discovery.
High-Performance Computing (HPC) is a key enabler of simulation-based science and engineering. Through Visualization, researchers are able to synthesize information and derive insight from massive, dynamic, ambiguous, and often conflicting data; detect the expected and discover the unexpected; provide timely, defensible, and understandable assessments; and communicate assessments effectively for action. Simulation techniques allow researchers to design a model of a real-world system and conduct experiments on this model to understand the behavior of the system and evaluate various strategies for the operation of the system.
Another area of HPC of interest to QCRI is Data Intensive Computing, which enables the handling of vast amounts of data. This is especially important in light of the fact that the volume of digital data grew by 50 percent between 2009 and 2010 to 1.2 zettabytes (ZB) and is expected to reach 35 ZB by 2020.
HPC means more than just high-end computing. Software and hardware techniques, such as parallel processing, that have been developed over the past two decades are now essential for mainstream computing. As this technology advances, QCRI plans to be at the forefront of HPC developments of the future.