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Containing Flu and Combating Cancer

High-performance computing helps prevent pandemics and determine optimal cancer treatments

Did you know bioinformatics research, driven by Intel® Xeon® processors, helped contain the H1N1 flu in 2009 and is now enabling doctors to personalize cancer treatments?

High performance computing chews through data

How do physicians determine the best course of treatment for patients? How do they assess whether a treatment is working, or know when to try another? Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech—aided by high-performance computing (HPC) clusters based on Intel® Xeon® processors—are helping doctors make decisions and “personalize” medicine to deliver the optimal treatment for each individual.

Bioinformatics combines computer science with biology and medicine to solve intensely data-driven problems in areas such as genetics, genomics, and disease prevention and treatment. “High-performance computing is an enabling technology for bioinformatics,” says Harold Garner, executive director, VBI. “It’s really required, because the size of the data is massive and growing dramatically.”

Using HPC, the pace of research at VBI has dramatically accelerated, and VBI scientists are making life-saving discoveries in multiple areas. For example, using computational epidemiology—which models how diseases move from person to person—VBI scientists helped contain the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009.

Other VBI researchers are enabling more personalized treatments by using a patient’s genetic makeup as a roadmap for predicting which drugs will and will not work on an individual’s cancer. They are also mapping how normal and cancer genomes change over time, and in response to drug treatment. Such research is not feasible on traditional computer equipment.


Intel across healthcare

Intel healthcare involves embedding Intel® technology inside everything from computerized fitness equipment to lifesaving medical monitoring devices, which practitioners rely on to administer proactive care.


High performance computing innovation

The Intel® Xeon® processor E7 family is designed for the high performance computing solutions that enterprise IT services demand. 

Learn how Intel is utilizing high performance computing.

Intel® Xeon® processor

Intel® Xeon® processors

Virginia Bioinformatics Institute researchers combine computer science, biology, and medicine to advance disease treatment and prevention. Because of massive amounts of data involved, their work would be impossible with traditional computing. They rely on high performance computing clusters based on Intel® Xeon® processors.