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The Life Sciences are becoming an increasingly important part of the Swedish high performance computing (HPC) ecosystem. Not only is their demand for computing simulations and data analysis ever increasing, but they also have specific requirements when it comes to storing their data – particularly when it comes to sensitive data, like data including personal information. In collaboration with the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) and the Uppsala Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science (UPPMAX), PDC is helping to provide the technological and legal framework for storing such data. The infrastructure will mainly be used to store sequencing data from the National Genomics Infrastructure (NGI). The underlying technology, iRODS, is also being used for other storage projects, such as a national storage infrastructure for Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC) users that is planned to be made available during the summer. Get in touch with our support personnel  to discuss your storage needs!

The Life Sciences, however, encompass much more than storing data – in fact, they are one of the research communities that drive the current exascale developments. PDC is supporting these efforts through an EC H2020 funded Centre of Excellence, BioExcel, which is working to improve the efficiency, scalability, and usability of key Life Science codes. In this edition of the newsletter we report on the successes of our colleagues from the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) in parallelizing large-scale genetic studies with workflow systems. And this year BioExcel, together with PRACE, organized the first “HPC for Life Sciences” spring school, which was hosted by PDC.

If you develop code yourself, you know how difficult it is to write correct code, and writing good code is even harder! With the support of the Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration (NeIC), we have started a Nordic-wide effort to train people in software engineering best practices: the CodeRefinery project.

In May we also held our legendary Pub event, where PDC users and staff can get together in an informal setting. The short scientific highlights presented by some PDC users were particularly interesting for PDC staff – it is always good to know what problems researchers actually solve using our resources!

Finally, the process of determining the future funding of SNIC has reached an important milestone. At the end of April, Uppsala University (as the SNIC host university) sent a document about the future organization and funding structure of SNIC to the Swedish Research Council (VR). This document, which foresees extending the financial contributors (currently VR and the SNIC centre host universities) to include all the major Swedish universities, was supported by all the affected universities and we expect VR to make a decision about the future funding of SNIC in the autumn. With this milestone reached, it should be possible to have a stable financial situation for SNIC in the coming years. The future of SNIC was also a major topic at the Second SNIC All Hands meeting, held in Gothenburg at the end of April.

With all this positive news, I wish you a relaxing summer time and I'm looking forward to all the great research that will be done on the PDC systems in the autumn.

Erwin Laure, Director PDC, and CST