Servers & Systems: The Right Compute

Memory-Driven Computing in healthcare research: Memory is not a given. Intelligence is required.

Discover Memory-Driven Computing’s role in cutting-edge research and actions being taken to catapult us forward in the search for an Alzheimer’s cure. Learn how HPE partners with DZNE research institution to achieve outstanding progress.

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50 million people. Nearly 10 million new cases every year.[1]

What’s the relation between these numbers? Respectively, it’s people that have dementia worldwide—and how many new cases there are per year. These numbers are staggering and frightening. 

Chances are you know of someone or will know someone who will be affected by this disease. For me personally, I watched my grandmother suffer and now am currently going through early stages with my mother-in-law. Simple things we take for granted on a daily basis become a challenge and hard to remember. Things like: Did I feed the dog?  Do I need eggs from the grocery (even though I just looked in the refrigerator)?  Did I mail my niece her birthday card? It is hard to comprehend this change in the people you love but it is a reality many families face.

So what is being done to address this heartbreaking disease? 

Enter Memory-Driven Computing 

I’m sure that is not the first thing that pops into your mind when thinking dementia or Alzheimer’s disease cures but the correlation is significant. As researchers determine ways we can diagnose dementia earlier, think of the exponential amounts of data collected on patients and the computing power needed to make sense of it all. Memory-Driven Computing is an almost infinitely flexible and scalable architecture that can complete any computing task much faster, using much less energy, than conventional systems. 

“Memory-Driven Computing provides exactly what we are looking for. By storing a lot of data in memory, we have a much faster system that can accelerate our computational pipelines.” – Professor Joachim L. Schultze, Ph.D., Director, PRECISE Platform for Single Cell Genomics and Epigenomics, DZNE

The good news is this is all happening now: HPE is partnering with Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE), a research institution established by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to fight neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. DZNE is leading a German population study examining up to 30,000 people every three years over their lifetimes to detect factors relevant to early detection of Alzheimer’s. Information from genomics, brain imaging, and clinical studies must be accessed and analyzed securely to protect patient privacy. This intensive amounts of data is estimated at 500 petabytes of data storage. 

What does 500 petabytes of storage look like?

The average digital cinema 4K movie (referring to the image resolution in 4K movie theaters) is 100GB of data. This would mean 1 petabyte of storage could hold 11,000 4K movies. With an average run time of two hours, it would take you over 2.5 years of nonstop binge watching to get through a petabyte's worth of 4K movies[2]. Multiply that by 500 and it would take 1,250 years of binge watching.

DZNE used its HPE Integrity Superdome X (now available as HPE Superdome Flex) as a test bed for memory-driven computing programming techniques. DZNE and HPE researchers worked together to adapt DNZE’s algorithm for pre-processing genomics data to use memory-driven programming techniques. What type of results have they achieved? Progressively, DZNE has seen a 22-minute process drop to 2.5 minutes, then down to 69 seconds, and now to 13 seconds. That’s more than a 100x speed improvement!

What are the experts saying about this research?

 In our recently published 5-part video series, Accelerating a Cure for Alzheimer's, experts discuss cutting-edge research, patient privacy concerns, security, and actions being taken quickly advance the search for a cure. And with security top of mind in healthcare, more discussions on zero trust architectures and their ability to enable secure environments in a cost-effective way are coming to the forefront.

No one can predict what the future will hold. But I’m optimistic that with the combined efforts of medicine and technology, we are closer than ever before to finding a cure for Alzheimer's. By providing intelligence and insights to the healthcare value chain to enable worklaods to iterate much faster, we are enabling researchers to use their expertise and knowledge to make decisions at speeds that were once unheard of. 

Memories are a core part of what makes us. . . us. Let’s keep it that way.



Meet HPE Experts blogger Tracy Siclair

Tracy 2020 edited.JPEG.jpgTracy has worked for HPE for 24 years in various positions, all geared toward providing a better customer experience. She has a passion for thinking out-of-the-box and finding innovative ways to share commercial insights. Utilizing research and insights, she’s putting those into action through storytelling techniques customers can easily understand.

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