Genomic Grids


‘What if you could call off your hunt for all the data you need? Forget about trying to run analyses of your favorite gene from your desktop, or whether you'll have to book time on a  supercomputer or ship out to a Linux cluster. Imagine, instead, simply punching in your query and something called "the grid" would just do it all for you. It would pull together all the bioinformatics applications, shuffle the data from the appropriate databases, and crunch various components of your analyses on just the right arrangement of computer processors. "Grid nirvana," as Abbas Farazdel calls this fantasy, is the future for basic biological research, drug discovery and development, and  even diagnostics research. Or at least that's what some academics and industry players such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, HP, SGI, Dell, Platform Computing - to name a few - would like you to believe…Farazdel, a solutions architect at IBM Life Sciences, is also co-chair of the recently created Life Sciences Grid Research Group of Globus, an organization set up to put in place the standards, technology, and policies to make grid computing a reality. "Grid nirvana is like a supermarket of services," he explains. "On the Internet right now we buy, sell, and share HTML files. In the grid nirvana we're going to be selling and buying verything, all resources." The grid goal is to make IT infrastructure invisible to the bench scientist. "In bioinformatics, researchers are spending 20 percent of the time just staging data - just finding it, figuring out who owns it, getting a copy of it, and moving it around," says Philip Werner, VP of product management for grid software vendor Avaki. "So 20 percent is just wasted time with them being forced to be essentially system administrators." With the nearly boundless computing and data access the grid vision promises, you could be not only more productive, but also able to tackle new classes of problems, Farazdel says. You could. But will you? Already, computing vendors flaunt lists of life sciences customers for whom they've installed some form of distributed computing or   managed to decentralize databases across a etwork. And regional consortiums, from North Carolina to Japan, are rolling out what they  call grids. But true grid nirvana, the ultimate system that Farazdel envisions, remains out of reach. In fact, grid computing is so far from reality that even the fundamental question, "What exactly is a grid?" is a topic of heated debate among grid proponents.’ Aaron J. Sender, Genome Technology, 2003

Grid Nirvana

Enlightenment at the touch of a button;

maybe even a whispering of the deity -

such power, knowledge at my fingertips.

All that is there, discovered - connected

to me, without moving. I can stretch out

my hand, access everything; understand

to a fly antenna, pixel-view,

formation of the eye, flower

tendril; no wonder I feel holy.

Downloading a Man

With the publicly-funded Human Genome

available freely on line - I could download

this Man - spectacular, universal;

winnowed from blood and sperm,

anonymous but particular within Creation,

printed with his animals, stars and flowers,

green skin under an Armani sheen;

the poem that he is, here with me -

we will be company, like Adam and Eve,

knowing the garden still in us, preserved

a little at least; still precious, needful -

but he starts opening his hunter’s eye;

still tuned, can smell blood, weakness,

vulnerability - feels and fears leaning,

keeps offering bowls of apples,

instead of babies he can’t make;

beats his chest given half a chance,

as the gorilla ghost comes drunk -

on second thoughts, I press ‘X’,

download Pride and Prejudice.

Note from the author
exploring the project

    Gene Story
        Haplotype Map
        Gene Atlas
        Genomic Grids
    Romantic Science
    Some Special Genes
    X & Y

Leave a comment
About the author
Make a contribution
Legal note on copyrightHome.htmlNote_from_the_author.htmlExploring_the_project.htmlQuotes.htmlIntroduction.htmlContents.htmlSEQUENCE_ONE.htmlSEQUENCE_TWO.htmlSEQUENCE_THREE.htmlGene_story.htmlMaps.htmlHaplotype_Map.htmlGene_Atlas.htmlSequence_3_Sequencing.htmlRomantic_science.htmlMedicine.htmlSome_special_genes.htmlCloning.htmlX_%26_Y.htmlSEQUENCE_FOUR.htmlComment.htmlAbout.htmlContribute.htmlCopyright.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1shapeimage_5_link_2shapeimage_5_link_3shapeimage_5_link_4shapeimage_5_link_5shapeimage_5_link_6shapeimage_5_link_7shapeimage_5_link_8shapeimage_5_link_9shapeimage_5_link_10shapeimage_5_link_11shapeimage_5_link_12shapeimage_5_link_13shapeimage_5_link_14shapeimage_5_link_15shapeimage_5_link_16shapeimage_5_link_17shapeimage_5_link_18shapeimage_5_link_19shapeimage_5_link_20shapeimage_5_link_21shapeimage_5_link_22shapeimage_5_link_23shapeimage_5_link_24