Monday, October 21, 2013

Big Data in Biology: Too Much to Handle

Here's a timely article on how biologists are handling the information overload that's come with (relatively) inexpensive sequencing hardware:
Researchers need more computing power and more efficient ways to move their data around. Hard drives, often sent via postal mail, are still often the easiest solution to transporting data, and some argue that it’s cheaper to store biological samples than to sequence them and store the resulting data. Though the cost of sequencing technology has fallen fast enough for individual labs to own their own machines, the concomitant price of processing power and storage has not followed suit. “The cost of computing is threatening to become a limiting factor in biological research,” said Folker Meyer, a computational biologist at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, who estimates that computing costs ten times more than research. “That’s a complete reversal of what it used to be.”