UB offers industry, researchers new tool for analyzing big data

Wires in a supercomputer.

The supercomputing technology can solve problems in a range of fields, from genomics to supply chain management

Release Date: October 17, 2016 This content is archived.

“What we’ve created through the Genomics Data Warehouse is a simple method of managing a vast amount of information. ”
Brian McIlroy, executive director of the the Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics (BIG)
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Got a big data problem? The University at Buffalo can help.

Through the Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics (BIG), UB’s supercomputing experts have developed a tool that enables researchers and companies to sift through, query and analyze enormous amounts of digital information.

The technology, called the Genomics Data Warehouse, stores and queries vast quantities of data efficiently — a challenging computational task, says project manager Adrian Levesque, MBA, a senior programmer/analyst with UB’s Center for Computational Research.

UB built the tool to accelerate genomics-based research, but the technology can be used to solve big data problems in any field, from drug discovery to materials development and supply chain management.

The warehouse is available for use by UB researchers without a fee, and by industry users with rates dependent on the nature of the project.

“What we’ve created through the Genomics Data Warehouse is a simple method of managing a vast amount of information,” says Brian McIlroy, PhD, executive director of BIG. “It’s an important technology: Researchers and businesses are often able to collect huge amounts of digital information, but lack the technological infrastructure to analyze this data and leverage it in meaningful ways. Our new tool bridges this gap.”

The technology supports the mission of BIG, which is a part of UB. The institute aims to drive innovation and job creation in New York State by advancing genomic medicine, a field that uses information on an individual’s genetic make-up to improve his or her clinical care.

BIG is a key component of a $100 million genomic medicine initiative announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo that partners UB with the New York Genome Center in Manhattan to translate research advances in the field into clinical care in partnership with industry to drive economic growth.

The new Genomics Data Warehouse furthers this mission by facilitating solutions to big data problems in genomics. The technology was developed in collaboration with UB’s genomic core, a facility that offers genome sequencing technology. Genomic data from the core can be transferred seamlessly to the genomic data warehouse, where the data can be stored for subsequent analysis.

Already, UB researchers are using the Genomic Data Warehouse to analyze information generated by genome sequencing projects, with the goal of identifying genetic variants that may be associated with disease. The technology gives researchers access to a wide range of genomics analysis tools for applying their data, and facilitates collaboration by providing investigators with the ability to grant secure access to data to collaborators.

In addition to Levesque, the team that developed the Genomics Data Warehouse includes Jianxin “Jason” Wang, PhD, a bioinformatics computational scientist, and Mohammad Zia, PhD, a bioinformatics programmer, both part of the Center for Computational Research, UB’s supercomputing center.

Researchers and companies interested in using the Genomics Data Warehouse can contact Adrian Levesque at big-help@buffalo.edu for information on the technology and industry user fees. Queries are welcome from users working in genomics and other fields that feature big data problems.

Media Contact Information

Charlotte Hsu is a former staff writer in University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, email ub-news@buffalo.edu or visit our list of current university media contacts.