by Kimberly Powell

[Update] Headline updated

NVIDIA is joining forces with the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) to create a Joint Innovation Lab, tasked with advancing bioinformatics applications through the use of GPU acceleration. Our objective is that, through our combined efforts, we can advance life science research and improve response time for virus outbreaks and health issues.

The announcement came at this week’s BioIT APAC Conference and Expo, in Shenzhen, China, the first event in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region to focus on facilitating the exchange of information and technologies that are driving biomedical research and drug development. The APAC region has become a hotbed of research activity in the bio and life sciences spaces.

BGI is a great partner for NVIDIA. It’s established itself as a world-class research institution and is the developer of many of the most popular bioinformatics applications used worldwide.

The formation of the Joint Innovation Lab stems from a longer relationship that NVIDIA has had with BGI. Developers there have been working for the last few months to tweak some of their bioinformatics applications to run faster with the help of NVIDIA GPUs. These types of applications tend to be large, complex and computationally intensive, so they have an almost insatiable demand for more performance and speed – the kind of performance that GPU technology puts within reach.

In fact, the team at BGI has already ported two key applications to the GPU: GSNP (Genomic Short-read Nucleotide Alignment Program) and SOAP3 (Short Oligonucleotide Analysis Package) – two of the leading, GPU-accelerated, software packages in the genomics space). Early tests of these applications show that they have already achieved performance increases of up to 20x – which is hugely impressive given the short amount of time they have been working on it.

I spent this week’s July 4th Independence Day holiday practicing my talk, entitled “The Democratization of High Performance Computing, Accelerating Science to Treatment,” which I gave today as a part of BGI’s plenary address to researchers and scientists. We’re grateful to BGI for giving us the opportunity to participate and speak to this importance audience.

If you’re going to the show – I’ll see you in Shenzhen.