Thursday, March 31, 2016

INTERCONNECT 2016 – where Customers lead, and IBM As-a-Service is on display

By Rich Ptak

Along with some 23,000 others, we attended IBM’s InterConnect 2016 event in Las Vegas. IBM enlarged last year’s event with a special focus on customers who led nearly half the sessions. In fact, for the first time, customers kicked off the event; reviewing details of successes built on IBM offerings. It was some 30 minutes before an IBM executive appeared on-stage.

There was ample opportunity to interact with IBM experts, staff, customers and partners. IBM also exposed details of the changes, results of their internal transformation to a services-driven company. Major technologies featured included Cloud, mobility, analytics and cognitive computing technologies. Here’s what struck us as especially interesting.

Advancing and Speeding Cancer Research

We found one story of particular interest. We met with Dr. Piers Nash of the University of Chicago’s Center for Data Intensive Science (CDIS). IBM Cloud Object Storage using Cleversafe technology enables CDIS to centrally store and manage vast amounts of genomic and clinical data to accelerate medical discoveries. This approach allows researchers nationwide to collaborate via shared access to harmonized data sets, speeding discovery and enabling precision medicine.

Cleversafe’s object-based storage allows management of unstructured data and is able to scale to handle petabytes of data. The combination allows CDIS to collect, manage, secure and analyze petabytes of data. Dr. Nash indicated that these capabilities are what makes CDIS efforts feasible.

CDIS hosts over 5 PB of data files. Genomic data and associated clinical metadata from centers around the country is cleaned, standardized and made available to researchers through a web portal and APIs.

Medical research requires very large amounts of data for optimal results. Collaborative research fuels major breakthroughs in precision medicine. CDIS efforts drive advances in continuously updated, data-driven, analytics-informed discovery, diagnosis, prognosis, and optimized treatment protocols. These speed diagnosis and allow creation of customized treatment protocols for individual patients as it advances algorithm-assisted, personalized medicine.

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