Disease Research Through Cloud Computing{1}


by Jongwoo Y
Amazon, a top internet retailer and newcomer to the cloud computing services, is planning on hosting over 200 terabytes of genetic data for the government’s newly approved “1000 Genome Project”. This program is being hosted on Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Elastic MapReduce (EMR) platforms (Horowitz, 2012). The program hopes to be able to find patterns in human genomes in order to find cures to a variety of diseases, including breast cancer and Parkinsons disease. All of the information that is being hosted on the Cloud server will be publicly available to researchers all over the world. This is a huge step forward, as the amount of data that will be stored is equivalent to 16 million file cabinets of text or 30,000 DVD’s (Horowitz, 2012). With this cloud technology, the time it takes to perform DNA sequencing will be drastically reduced; which in turn will directly impact clinical outcomes. Not only will researchers be able to study human beings, but also different subpopulations in different areas, and also different species such as monkeys as well. Another important fact about how this cloud service will impact the medical field is that it will now take only a couple of weeks to sequence a human genome, rather than the full 13 years that it took for the first one to be constructed. This new service that Amazon has provided is a great step forward for all humans, and will hopefully be a huge factor in everyone’s life.

This new cloud service that Amazon has released is truly groundbreaking in that it is using some of the newest technology that is available for a great cause. Cloud computing is becoming one of the main tools that many businesses are using in order to make their lives easier. Whether it’s used for helping to complete projects or create online databases for corporations, cloud computing is going to be a fundamental tool in the near future. The way Amazon is implementing its cloud service to help disease research of all types is truly inspiring. This huge company is storing huge amounts of big data for researchers around the world to freely use; I only hope that it does lead to some groundbreaking research that can effect our lives in the near future.

With technology evolving as rapidly as it is, disease research is sadly being left behind. This new program that Amazon is involved in will be able to ease this gap and bring researchers a more efficient path to the answers that they are looking for. With DNA sequencing technology and having the power to access different genomes of people from different parts of the world, research for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and many other diseases will be able to evolve. The fusion of cloud technology and medical research is the step in the right direction and will definitely be a huge factor in a better future.

Horowitz, B. (2012, March 31). eweek. Retrieved from http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Health-Care-IT/Amazon-Cloud-to-Ease-1000-Genomes-Project-Disease-Research-649156/