Over the past several years, Larry Smarr, director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at the University of California San Diego, has been exploring how advanced data analytics tools can find patterns in microbial distribution data. These discoveries can lead to newer and better clinical applications. However, with 100 trillion microorganisms in the human body, more than 10 times the number of human cells, and 100 times the number of DNA as human genes, microbes are the epitome of big data! To unlock their secrets, Dr. Smarr employs high performance computing with impressive results.

His interest in this topic arose from a desire to improve his own health. To obtain the data he needed, he began using himself as a "guinea pig." Working with his doctors, and quantifying a wide-range of his personal microbial data, Smarr was finally able to obtain a diagnosis of Crohn's disease, which several traditional examinations had dismissed.

From this discovery, Dr. Smarr is now working to unlock what role microorganisms may play in other intestinal diseases.

You can hear his presentation on this fascinating topic at insideHPC.