A key Singapore government research agency and a prominent information systems developer have established a strategic partnership to develop a new generation storage system.
The research partners are Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Data Storage Institute (DSI) and Hitachi Asia.
An official Singapore government statement said: "The aim of the partnership is to develop a new generation storage system for genome sequencing data, which can provide useful clinical information and insights into the association of specific genomic variants with diseases.
"Such research can enable early intervention by health care professional with predictive and personalised medicine" and "the development of such a system also represents an applied research approach by solving real world data problems faced by organisations".
Huge capacity needed
The statement said genome sequencing data is usually stored electronically and requires a large storage capacity plus massive computing power to manipulate it.
"Modern genome sequencing has evolved from a primarily observational and qualitative discipline to a quantitative, data-intensive, computer-intensive and predictive science. The haploid human genome is estimated to be about three billion base pairs long, with each base pair requiring two bits of storage, thus this equates to about 725 MB of data of uncompressed data.
"Hence, this research collaboration between the two organisations is focused on meeting the high performance and low storage cost demands in storing, accessing, and managing large genome databases," the statement said.
Hitachi Asia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors such as information systems, power and industrial systems, digital media systems and consumer products. It operates across India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Advancing genomic science
"Hitachi Asia is excited about this opportunity of collaborating with DSI to further advance the scalability and functionality of our data storage system in the area of genomic science," said Makoto Nagashima, managing director of Hitachi Asia.
A*STAR is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent Singapore and oversees 14 biomedical sciences, physical sciences and engineering research institutes, including six consortia and centres, in Singapore's Biopolis and Fusionopolis.
DSI executive director, Dr. Pantelis Alexopoulos, said efficient data storage was a key enabler to help solve real world problems such as the management and storing of the immense generation of data coming from genome sequencing.
"DSI is very pleased to be a part of these efforts and the implications of this research could potentially have a huge impact on medical industry and how we view healthcare in the future," Dr Alexopoulos said.
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