Computerome is the Danish National Supercomputer for Life Sciences. Installed at Technical University of Denmark (DTU), it is one of the largest high-performance computing (HPC) resources in Scandinavia and a key part of Denmark’s national e-infrastructure. Computerome supports collaboration between researchers, healthcare professionals and industries, and can process sensitive health data in a highly secure environment. It plays a vital role in undertaking ambitious research projects, such as helping predict medical trajectories and developing precision medicine and therapy.
The first version of the supercomputer was built in 2014 on conventional, bare-metal infrastructure. But as its popularity grew and research activity intensified, the labor involved in managing the system became unsustainable. DTU needed the system to handle more workloads with less direct intervention by IT staff.
Its engineers decided to take an unusual approach in supercomputing—virtualization of the HPC. This unconventional path would enable DTU to operate Computerome as a virtual private cloud running many smaller clouds, supporting more scientific projects at any given time and onboarding them much more quickly.
Computerome: One of the World’s Most Powerful Supercomputers for Life Science
DTU partnered with VMware to virtualize the HPC with VMware Cloud Foundation and create the next generation of Computerome. By adapting the business enterprise solution from VMware to the high-performance demands of scientific research, DTU created the largest virtual HPC in the world. Today, the supercomputer boasts an impressive 50,000 cores with 210 Terabytes of memory connected to 20 Petabytes of storage.
With this pioneering approach, Computerome offers levels of operational efficiency, security and flexibility that could not have been achieved in a bare-metal environment. Resources required for day-to-day operations and patching and maintenance by DTU engineers have been reduced thanks to the single pane of glass for management and security provided by VMware Cloud Foundation. Security has been boosted thanks to VMware NSX micro-segmentation of the network, enabling the creation of isolated research projects. Engineers can scale operations to onboard, configure and commission new scientific projects in hours rather than days.
The new supercomputer has accelerated time to data insights and research discoveries. It opens new opportunities for advanced research and treatments in areas such as cancer, heart disease and COVID-19.
Analysis of personal data predicts the risks and benefits of cancer treatment
A great example of supercomputing platform supports in action and benefiting society is the work carried out Zealand University Hospital. The hospital uses Computerome to develop new tailored therapy approaches for cancer patients after surgery. Researchers now have access to a secure private cloud environment where specially developed algorithms can process millions of data points from electronic patient records and relevant medical studies. The algorithms running on the supercomputer predict the risks and benefits of cancer treatment, functioning as a decision support tool to help healthcare professionals choose the best treatment for each patient.
As the example demonstrates, Computerome can now offer the life science sector the security and speed needed for research projects which may lead to improvements in life science and healthcare.