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Super Computing Meets the World of Biology

UA News (AZ) (03/23/12) Shelley Littin

 University of Arizona researchers have developed the iPlant Collaborative, a computer cyberinfrastructure that enables biological sciences researchers to process immense data sets.  “A big function of iPlant is to bring together high-performance computing experts, build a cyberinfrastructure platform, and use it to advance life science research,” says iPlant Collaborative director Stephen Goff.  IPlant is the first major investment by the U.S. National Science Foundation aimed at building a cyberinfrastructure for biologists to use to manage massive amounts of data.  IPlant researchers used survey data to develop software and projects that would be most useful to help scientists store and process their data.  IPlant has developed ways for scientists to share information through software over the Internet and virtual servers created to store huge amounts of data.  “We’re also offering novel ways to interact with iPlant’s computational systems,” says iPlant’s Matthew Helmke.  He says one of the most important developments is the iPlant Discovery Environment, a Web interface that gives researchers a method for storing data, adding new software that they design for their experiments, and collaborating with other scientists using the new software.

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