Convey provides x15 acceleration on Burrows-Wheeler Aligner

The Genome Analysis Centre Selects Convey to Support Next-Generation Sequencing

Installation showcases critical role of heterogeneous computing in genomics research

Convey Computer announced that The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), one of seven institutes that receive strategic funding from the U.K.’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has deployed two Convey HC-1ex hybrid-core systems for advanced genomics research. TGAC, based in the U.K, is an aggressive adopter of advanced sequencing and IT technology.

The two Convey HC-1ex systems are the latest addition to TGAC’s powerful computing infrastructure. By installing hybrid-core Convey HC-1ex systems, TGAC expanded their cluster and ccNUMA-based HPC environment to include leading edge heterogeneous computing capabilities.

“We need to analyse data quickly and precisely, which takes time on clusters,” explained Dr. Mario Caccamo, Deputy Director of TGAC. “We offloaded some of our sequence alignment demand to the Convey hybrid-core systems, because they can handle the alignment algorithms much more efficiently. Using the Convey systems, we are seeing up to 15x acceleration on our computationally intense BWA1 runs.”

1 Burrows-Wheeler Aligner (BWA) is an efficient program that aligns relatively short nucleotide sequences against a long reference sequence such as the human genome.

TGAC was part of an international team that recently demonstrated next-generation sequencing could be used effectively to fine map genes in polyploidy wheat. TGAC will leverage Convey’s architecture to accelerate computationally challenging jobs, such as re-sequencing alignment for wheat and other polyploidy species.

Convey’s hybrid-core architecture pairs classic Intel® x86 microprocessors with a coprocessor comprised of FPGAs. Particular algorithms—BWA-based alignment, for example—are optimized and translated into code that’s loadable onto the coprocessor at runtime.

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