Availability gives cloud the edge over dedicated machines

NIH enlists Google Cloud for biomedical research

Over the past 20 years, the amount of genomic data stored at the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information has grown to over 200 million sequences, and it's continuing to expand exponentially. To help researchers more easily and cost-effectively access and analyze that data, NIH announced a new program to partner with commercial cloud providers.

The Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation and Sustainability, or STRIDES, Initiative seeks to accelerate biomedical advances by giving researchers access to scalable storage and computing resources, tools for data preparation and analysis, and faster networking.

On July 24, NIH announced that Google Cloud will be the first partner for STRIDES.

“NIH is in a unique position to bring together academic and innovation industry partners to create a biomedical data ecosystem that maximizes the use of NIH-supported biomedical research data for the greatest benefit to human health,” NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak said. “The STRIDES Initiative aims to maximize the number of researchers working to provide the greatest number of solutions to advancing health and reducing the burden of disease.”

Google will help create a framework for researchers at NIH and more than 2,500 academic institutions that receive NIH support to make use of the company’s cloud-based storage, computing and machine-learning technologies. In addition, the partnership will involve collaborating on NIH’s efforts to develop the Data Commons, a cloud-based platform that will allow investigators to store, share, access and interact with digital objects such as data and software generated by biomedical and behavioral research.

The partnership will also involve training programs for NIH research institutions on how to use the Google Cloud platform.

“Through our partnership with NIH, we are bringing the power of data and the cloud to the biomedical research community globally,” said Gregory Moore, vice president of health care at Google Cloud. “Together, we are making it easier for scientists and physicians to access and garner insights from NIH-funded datasets with appropriate privacy protections, which will ultimately accelerate biomedical research progress toward finding treatments and cures for the most devastating diseases of our time.”

More information on NIH’s efforts to improve its data science technology can be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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