IT key to project’s success
“A lot of what we bring to this problem is strength in information technology,” he says. “What we’re trying to do is use what IBM already knows how to do well in scaling up new kinds of computations. We want to make
it easier to do the biological calculation. Key to this is bringing in lots of data and bringing it all these different data sets to bear on one another.
“What really makes this possible is that we’ll be able to put all the data in one place, in one big facility so we can have many terabytes of public reference data from other people’s experiments and sample data from the stream
of food samples.
“For one thing, many of the genes we will find in our food samples will turn out to be genes already identified in laboratory studies, and biologists have determined what that gene does in the microorganism. For example, we may see genes
that become active to protect the microbes under harsh conditions, possibly in response to sterilization procedures. We want to know that is happening, and we need to pull in data that biologists have published to let us make that identification.
We refer to that as curated referenced material.”