Windows Azure at Supercomputing 2010 – Cloud Computing for biological research

Microsoft announced the release of the National Centre for Biotechnology Information Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (NCBI Blast) on Windows Azure at Supercomputing 2010.

The new application enables a broader community of scientists to combine desktop resources with the power of cloud computing for biological research. Microsoft showcased the scale of the application on Windows Azure, demonstrating its use for 100 billion comparisons of protein sequences in a database managed by the NCBI.

Search Engine Zips Through Data

NCBI Blast on Azure enables researchers to take advantage of the scalability of the platform to perform analysis of vast proteomics and genomic data in the cloud.

Blast is a suite of programs that is designed to search all available sequence databases for similarities between a protein or DNA query and known sequences. It allows quick matching of near and distant sequence relationships, providing a scoreboard that allows the user to distinguish real matches from background hits with a high degree of statistical accuracy.

The power of the Blast suite can be harnessed by allowing researchers to rent processing time on the Azure cloud platform, Microsoft said. The availability of these programs over the cloud allows laboratories, or even individuals, to have large-scale computational resources at their disposal at a very low cost per run, the company said. For researchers who do not have access to large computer resources, this greatly increases the options to analyse their data. They can now undertake more complex analyses or try different approaches that were simply not feasible before.

Continue Reading…  Full Source: eWeekEurope

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