Technology for world-class research
Research Technologies provides key research technology infrastructure and services to support Arizona’s world class researchers.
High Performance Computing Helps Predict Nature of Alzheimer’s Disease
Rui Chang, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Neurology and Associate Director for Computational Systems in Biology in the Arizona Center for Innovation in Brain Science (CIBS), is working on the cure for neurodegenerative diseases. Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s are in the forefront as he uses a cutting-edge big data modeling science approach for precision target discovery and drug development. He is considered the international field expert in using high dimensional, high scale data to model the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Chang explains that with the power of the high performance computing center at UITS, “you can integrate a lot of variables at different scales together into a network model, and look system-wise at what the driver is through the pathology and onset of the disease.”
Insights derived from this large data disease progression modeling reveals key drivers for therapeutic targets in cell-type specific ways across the spectrum of age-associated neurodegenerative diseases.
Black Hole Modeling in Research Data Center
With the help of two radio telescopes coordinated by University of Arizona astronomers took the first direct image of a black hole. Before the Event Horizon Telescope made history with projecting the first image of a black hole, Arizona Department of Astronomy researchers harnessed the power of the El Gato system in the Computer Center's Research Data Center to generate high-fidelity models from data that looked remarkably like the eventual image.
El Gato Expansion
El Gato was launched in 2013 with a National Science Foundation grant received by the Department of Astronomy. When the grant expired last year, Research Technologies staff decided to maximize computing availability for the campus.
UITS staff reconfigured processing nodes and updated El Gato’s operating system to the latest version, so that it can run modern code, and installed three-fifths of a mile of new cabling.
El Gato is one of three supercomputers the university has available for faculty, staff, and students to use at no cost.
"Using the university's HPC, we look at the whole genome plus untargeted data. High-dimensional, high-scale data network modeling helps us understand and target the drivers for the onset and progression of the Alzheimer’s disease."
Rui Chang, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Neurology and Associate Director for Computational Systems in Biology in the Arizona Center for Innovation in Brain Science