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‘Condor’ Brings Genome Assembly Down to Earth.

University of Wisconsin-Madison (07/19/10) Barncard, Chris

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM) and the University of Maryland (UMD) have assembled a full human genome from millions of pieces of data using a network of computers instead of a supercomputer. UMD professors Mihai Pop and Michael Schatz combined their Conrail genome assembly software with UWM’s Condor distributing computing program. Condor, developed at UWM’s Center for High Throughput Computing, breaks up long lists of heavy computing tasks and distributes them across networked computer workstations. The UWM team added features from another distributed-computing tool, called Hadoop, to manage both the complex workflow chain and the large data management problems involved with the billions of letters taken from human DNA by a sequencing machine. “By running them together, we’re able to efficiently run this biological application–efficient not just in terms of computer time, but efficient in terms of dollars,” says UWM’s Greg Thain. “Because Condor could efficiently schedule the work, Maryland didn’t have to buy a multimillion-dollar disk cluster.”

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