How we do it
Cancer Computer exists because there simply aren’t enough computing resources available to cancer researchers, and the demand for computing is increasing every year at greater rate than the resources being deployed for their use. Moreover, this gap is widening.
Cancer Computer provides resources to cancer researchers with infrastructure, applications, and consulting services, some of which can be free of charge, and other services we can provide very competitively, as we are a non-profit corporation.
Infrastructure is the computers, storage devices, and networking, that make up our high performance computing (HPC), high throughput computing (HTC), “Big Data” analytics, machine learning, Cloud services, etc. We currently have 5 clusters of servers, located in secure collocation facilities, across North America, that provide the “computing power” to get cancer research work, such as structural biology, genomics, proteinomics, and other kinds of bioinformatics work done. In many cases, we simply provide free or heavily discounted cloud resources, to resources, much like a regular cloud provider, except for far less cost. Valuable for researchers or research hospitals on limited budgets.
Applications are the software tools that the researchers actually use. There are literally thousands of tools that can be used in many ways, including using many of them in “workflows” to complete work. This work can be done on Cancer Computer’s own infrastructure, or cloud, or in coordination with other research institutions. It depends on the nature of the work.
As you can imagine, creating some of the workflows, net-new applications, or even systems integration, can be very challenging work. For this, we have supercomputing and IT experts to assist researchers. We become their technical partners, and they can focus on their research. Many of those applications involve AI (machine learning, natural language processing, etc.) and the use of so-called “Big Data”, very large data sets, that Cancer Computer can not only provide the infrastructure for, but can assist in improving outcomes for research, in both the areas of improving speed and reproducibility.