New Research Project – ASCLEPIUS: Accelerating Bioinformatics and Biomedical Applications via Massively Parallel Reconfigurable Systems

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High-performance, real-time computation systems  are becoming  necessary to compute extremely complicated biomedical and bioinformatics algorithms used by bioengineers and doctors worldwide and come in the form of supercomputers,  i.e. large clusters, which are the only capable solution keeping up with the application demands. However, the excessive cost of implementing and maintaining such systems, limits their presence only to a small number of research facilities world-wide. The ASCLEPIUS project aims to create a low-cost, high-performance biomedical and bioinformatics computation platform which can be utilized by small-and-medium scale biomedical research facilities world-wide. Research will focus on the creation of a heterogeneous, cost-effective, high-performance computational platform that facilitates reconfigurable hardware fabric through FPGAs, the speed of GPUs, and the generality of CPUs, in a seamless interface. The resulting system will benefit researchers working in the fields of biology, medicine, and biomedical engineering, by providing an alternative, cheaper, faster and more energy-efficient solution compared to supercomputer solutions currently being explored. ASCLEPIUS aims to provide a transparent, user-friendly, high-end processing platform that will accelerate the computations needed for advancing research, and will be able to dynamically reconfigure itself to adjust to the application and user requirements.

Recent advancements allow the integration of reconfigurable hardware (FPGAs) and graphics processing units (GPUs), alongside with general-purpose processors (CPUs).  The project will use state-of-the-art technologies and hardware/software co-design methodologies, in creating a fully functional hybrid prototype that will be the first of its kind in Cyprus. The project research team is led by Dr. Theocharis Theocharides and the main student researcher is Agathoklis Papadopoulos.

This project is funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation through the Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Innovation 2009-10 (DESMI 2009-2010), co-funded by the Republic of Cyprus and the European Regional Development Fund.

Project official website here.