The Bio IT World conference was held here in Boston this past April, and Good Start Genetics was there in force. BioIT is an annual gathering of biologists, computer scientists, physicians, software engineers, and others interested in applying computers to solve key biomedical problems. It is also a great chance to catch up with colleagues in talks and in the hallways to compare notes and ask questions. Since advanced computational approaches and bioinformatics are a critical part of what we do at Good Start Genetics, being able to keep up with this rapidly-changing field is an important part of our work – and it is fun, too!
GSG was invited for the second year in a row to lead a workshop on high-performance and cloud computing at the meeting, and this year we were lucky enough to be joined by senior researchers from both Google and Amazon, whom we asked to present their views on leveraging each company’s massive computing infrastructure to enable rapid and effective analysis of genetic data. Angel Pizarro from Amazon and Jonathan Bingham and Will Brockman from Google showed how people in a range of disciplines do computation that would have taken literally months to complete a few years ago can be done in hours (or less) by using a desktop or laptop to access their company’s respective computer resources.
It is an amazing development – where companies like Google and Amazon are able to build huge computing resources to support their businesses, and then share those resources with others to help answer important scientific and medical questions from all around the world. We at Good Start have greatly benefitted from these systems, which enable us to do computation that used to take most of a day and get it down to two hours – and potentially even less! It is our clients and patients who benefit most, though, by getting timely reports for their tests when they need them most.
Technology is great, and GSG enjoys being at the cutting edge, but we all recognize that it only matters when it helps us do what we do best, and that is provide the most effective carrier testing available anywhere.