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National Center for Genome Analysis Support

Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute

Genome analysis support center announces new initiatives to foster discovery


January 14, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Now entering its second year of operation, the National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS) provides software, expert consultation and computational resources to help life science researchers analyze genome data. NCGAS is expanding its reach by adding partners and services to help biological research communities make important new scientific discoveries:

  • New partnership with NSF-funded supercomputing center. The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) is now an NCGAS partner, joining Indiana University's Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI), the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego.  The PSC, TACC, SDSC, and IU's PTI, have all been major providers of genomic and bioinformatics software and services for years, and are major providers of such software and services within XSEDE.  As a result of this partnership, PSC will install additional genome analysis applications on its supercomputer, Blacklight, which benefit from the system's large memory architecture.
  • New on-demand computing services. Indiana University and Penguin Computing Inc. have partnered to offer access to a high-performance cluster with large-memory nodes configured for genome assembly and equipped with genome analysis and bioinformatics software. This Penguin On-Demand HPC Service (POD) is available on a fee-for-service basis, and is particularly useful for NIH-funded researchers who need access to a large-memory cluster. In addition, the IU/Penguin service has been designated an Internet2 NET evaluation service, putting it one step closer to endorsement by Internet2 for use by the national research community.
  • New resources for private sector researchers. One of NCGAS's core missions is to provide information and open-source software resources to the US private sector and global medical research community. To that end, the center is a repository for online information about genome data analysis - and it produces and distributes optimized versions of bioinformatics software, such as the improved Trinity RNA assembly software. (Read more about the Trinity RNA software improvements here:

"Our partnership with the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center -- paired with Penguin On-Demand resources and optimized software -- will help NCGAS expand services to the US research community in important new ways," said Craig Stewart, dean for IU Research Technologies, executive director of PTI and principal investigator on the NCGAS grant award.

William Barnett, NCGAS director, added, "It's exciting to think of the breakthroughs to come in the years ahead as we continue to provide tools and services to genome researchers, enabling innovative and potentially transformative genomics research."

Led by PTI, NCGAS is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help researchers retrieve useful biological information from the vast amounts of sequence data generated by research programs. Only in its second year, the center has already served hundreds of researchers and dozens of research projects. NCGAS is making its public debut at the Plant and Animal Genome conference -- one of the world's largest conferences dedicated to genome science.

Its latest initiatives further the center's mission to provide researchers with better bioinformatics support, freeing them to concentrate on the science surrounding their genomics projects -- as opposed to their technology needs. Working with NCGAS also gives researchers access to powerful high performance computers and networks, improving the speed and quality of genome assemblies.

"The partnership between NCGAS and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center will significantly extend the capability of researchers to perform challenging genomic analyses," said Phil Blood, senior scientific specialist at PSC. "Researchers using PSC resources have immediately benefited from NCGAS' work and are currently running a previously intractable set of large-scale Trinity assemblies on our 16 TB SGI UV system, Blacklight -- the world's largest coherent shared memory platform."


The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Indiana University a $1.5 million grant to establish the National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS) in 2011. Since that time, NCGAS has offered no-cost services to NSF-funded researchers who use genome assembly software, large-scale phylogenetic software and other genome analysis software requiring large amounts of memory. NCGAS partner institutions include the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas Austin, the San Diego Supercomputer Center at University of California, San Diego, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE). For more, see or contact


Led by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, XSEDE integrates and supports 16 supercomputers and high-end visualization and data analysis resources across the country. XSEDE's integrated, comprehensive suite of advanced digital services will federate with other high-end facilities and with campus-based resources, serving as the foundation for a national cyberinfrastructure ecosystem. Supercomputing time at the centers mentioned here is available through a peer-reviewed application process. For more, see

About Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University

Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) at Indiana University is a world-class organization dedicated to the development and delivery of innovative information technology to advance research, education, industry and society. Supported in part by a $15 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., PTI is built upon a spirit of collaboration and brings together researchers and technologists from a range of disciplines and organizations, including the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IU Bloomington, the IU Maurer School of Law, the IU College of Arts and Sciences and University Information Technology Services, with the administrative leadership of the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology at Indiana University. For more, see