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How Big Data is helping to map the human genome

Often we lose sight of how Big Data and the Internet of Things are affecting the real world. Ami Gal, CEO of Sqream Technologies, mentioned in passing how Big Data was actively changing the world and I had to know more. In this interview we discuss exactly how Big Data is affecting the world, particularly with regards to mapping the human genome.

One of the most incredible uses of Big Data technology we saw in 2014 was genetic scientists leveraging Big Data technology to sequence the human genome faster.

Why was this such a huge development and what would it mean for the human race if the scientists succeed in discovering how human genome’s are sequenced?

In the last couple of years bioinformatics have gone through a revolution in sequencing genome data. The involvement of computer power and the growing amount of data that can now be created have opened up new opportunities for leveraging genomic data that can bring meaningful insights in less time.

What big data technologies allowed the genetic scientists to make such breakthroughs in 2014?

The decrease in cost per terabyte for storage has allowed bioinformatics to efficiently store genetic data in its raw form. On top of that, MPP (massively parallel computing) opensource technologies have allowed highly skilled bioinformatics engineers to leverage their scripting capabilities and to use the MPP platform to execute their scripts and queries over multiple nodes.

The biggest challenge today is to standardise the querying tools on top of the existing formats of storage and to be able to efficiently query the data that is being generated. Today people are using opensource databases and existing databases to query a fraction of the data.

Some of the existing tools that are being used in the big data world are already able to query such quantities of data. Tools such as big data databases like SQream DB, allow genomic researchers to efficiently query their data in a way that saves them months and years of research time.

Whether it be; streamlining processes, decreasing costs or increasing profit margins, what are some practical steps that businesses can follow to implement these technologies into their enterprise?

The hybrid between existing enterprise data technologies and the massive quantity of data being created in the genomic research, are expediting the evolution of big data analytics.

Taking those into different areas such as smart grid, connected cars and other Internet of Things opportunities, will allow enterprises and us to leverage the power of big data.

Lastly, what are some other ways Big Data is positively progressing the human race?

It is clear that genomic research will allow us to live better and to treat people better. What is also clear is that big data is a powerful tool to resolve some other big mysteries in our world such as weather forecasting, space research, creation of the world and maybe to understand the human brain.

Thanks to Ami for chatting to us, you can follow him on Twitter at @amigic