Microsoft backs development of Garvan’s Genetic Index

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Microsoft has announced a significant investment in Azure computing resources available to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research with the goal of accelerating the development of Garvan’s Genetic Index.

The Genetic Index is comprised of summary data of 5,000 aggregated, harmonised human whole genomes. It will be made available to the international scientific community.

As a result of the Microsoft Azure grant, Garvan will run the production analysis workflow associated with the 5,000 genomes on the Azure Australia cloud.

According to Garvan’s Warren Kaplan, chief of informatics, Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, “The deliverable will be Garvan’s Genetic Index – a resource that will be accessible and available for the world’s genomics community.

“With Microsoft’s support, Garvan will further accelerate our genome research helping to bring closer a new and important era of healthcare.”

The Genetic Index is one of many genomics-focused research initiatives at Garvan including DreamLab, the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program, the Garvan-Weizmann partnership and the Clinical Immunogenomics Research Consortium Australia (CIRCA).

James Kavanagh, Microsoft Azure engineering lead for Australia and New Zealand said, “Our approach is unique – delivering clusters of specialised compute and performance networking tailored to the demanding performance requirements of these workloads. We’re not just repackaging and marketing commodity infrastructure as other cloud providers do. We support Windows and Linux based HPC with the fastest direct networking, storage and compute designs – and that clearly shows in the performance.”

“We are proud to be able to support the pioneering work that the Garvan Institute performs and make available to it the unique high-performance computing capability of Azure that is tuned for applications such as genomic research and artificial intelligence,” said Steven Worrall, managing director of Microsoft Australia.