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HomeBusiness IntelligenceA Crew in Oregon is Monitoring Endangered Owls by Sound Alone

A Crew in Oregon is Monitoring Endangered Owls by Sound Alone

When know-how corporations develop modern new merchandise within the high-performance computing (HPC) house, it permits life science researchers to do new issues that they hadn’t imagined earlier than. And when life science researchers make new breakthroughs, it pushes info know-how to innovate new approaches to help these scientific advances. It’s a relationship that has pushed innovation within the life sciences business for years. 

This mutually helpful cycle is especially evident within the work of the Middle for Quantitative Life Sciences (CQLS) at Oregon State College. The middle helps greater than 26 completely different departments, offering laboratory tools, computing infrastructure, coaching, and entry to workers members with in depth expertise in genomics, bioinformatics, and computational biology.

Christopher Sullivan, the assistant director for biocomputing at CQLS, lately sat down for an interview the place he mentioned among the middle’s most enjoyable new initiatives. A number of of these initiatives use machine studying fashions to carry out superior analytics operating on the middle’s HPC clusters.

Monitoring Owls by Sound

Working with the U.S. Forest Service, researchers at Oregon State have developed algorithms that may determine completely different species of owls from sound alone. They arrange recording stations within the woods to seize audio information. They then generate spectrograms — visible representations of the audio inputs — which they analyze utilizing a machine studying mannequin they’ve skilled to acknowledge distinct species.

At first, the fashions may solely determine a handful of species. However the workforce saved their audio recordings over time, about 5 PB captured because the Nineties. Within the intervening years, the scientists developed extra fashions, in order that as we speak, the venture can determine greater than 50 completely different species. On the similar time, the know-how has superior, permitting the scientists to re-run that outdated information extra rapidly than prior to now.

“You give me a brand new know-how, I’m going to push as a lot information out of that know-how as I probably can,” Sullivan mentioned. “It’s about constructing the instruments that we want alongside the information because it comes at us. And as these instruments change, we’re ready to return to the information and redo it.”

This scientific and technological breakthrough is having a significant affect on each the financial system and the atmosphere. “It’s serving to the general public monitor the owl populations and all the opposite animal populations within the forest in order that teams can farm the forests correctly for wooden and various things with out harming species,” Sullivan defined.

Monitoring Covid in Wastewater

Lots of the work at CQLS entails genetic sequencing. For instance, they often analyze the genetic materials in wastewater in order that they will decide which Covid variants are most prevalent at any given time. 

That is an space the place a scientific breakthrough drove advances in computing. Sullivan defined {that a} new genome sequencing innovation enabled the CQLS to scale up in order that as a substitute of doing 2,000 sequences per run, they have been in a position to conduct 2 million sequences per run. And it occurred “actually in a single day.”

However the computing infrastructure wasn’t designed for that form of throughput. “So we really had to return and develop an entire new stack as a result of the know-how modified,” Sullivan mentioned. “We’re continually doing that always.”

Figuring out Plankton by Laser Gentle

One other CQLS venture is utilizing genetic sequencing to watch the well being of the ocean. Oregon State’s Hatfield Marine Science Middle is working with the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on a venture that analyzes they plankton in seawater. They’ve a ship that drags a laser machine behind it to seize photographs of the ocean. Because the lasers move over the water, the plankton and different organisms within the water forged a shadow. The workforce data video of these shadows, which they then analyze with HPC methods powered by GPUs to categorise the contents. 

That effort generates an incredible quantity of knowledge — on the order of 100 TB per week. That was greater than the CQLS may affordably retailer and course of within the cloud. Nonetheless, the middle’s HPC atmosphere, constructed with Dell infrastructure that includes NVIDIA GPUs, offered the suitable steadiness of efficiency and price.

Initiatives like these are serving to Oregon State be taught extra concerning the world through which we dwell and develop modern new approaches to computing on the similar time. Their efforts are enhancing life and well being whereas additionally pushing the boundaries of what’s potential with high-performance computing.

For extra info, learn the OSU buyer story right here. 

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