Arizona Science explores the latest scientific research and technological innovations taking place in Southern Arizona and at the University of Arizona. Catch Arizona Science each Friday during Science Friday on NPR 89.1.
Over the last decade, the life sciences have benefited from new, highly quantitative technologies, from super-resolution microscopy to DNA sequencing, that enable acquisition of data at ever faster rates. In response to the resulting avalanche of data, information technology has made transformational advances, including the development of cloud and high-performance computing, large scale data management systems and high-bandwidth networks. All of this allows scientists to design "data expeditions" and a new level of large-scale analysis efforts - but managing these massive datasets, from acquisition to analysis to archiving, requires interdisciplinary collaborations with teams of experts from across the country, or across continents. CyVerse, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a virtual organization led by the University of Arizona to fill a niche created by the new computing epoch. CyVerse provides life scientists with powerful computational infrastructure to handle huge datasets and complex analyses, enabling data-driven discovery and broad international collaboration. Nirav Merchant, CyVerse co-principal investigator, discusses some of the challenges and many opportunities associated with empowering scientists to build and manage global communities and collaborations.