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Combating Cancer With Data

neocortex structure

Researchers used scanning electron microscope images of nanometers-thick mouse brain slices to reconstruct cells into a neocortex structure (center), whose various cell types appear in different colors.

Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

For decades, scientists have worked toward the 'holy grail' of finding a cure for cancer. While significant progress has been made, their efforts have often been worked on as individual entities. Now, as organizations of all kinds seek to put the massive amounts of data they take in to good use, so, too, are the health care industry and the U.S. federal government.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are collaborating on three pilot projects that involve using more intense high-performance computing at the exascale level, which is the push toward making a billion billion calculations per second (or 50 times faster than today's supercomputers), also known as exaFLOPS (a quintillion, 1018, floating point operations per second). The goal is to take years of data and crunch it to come up with better, more effective cancer treatments.


Braulio Cabral

Great article Ms. Shein,
Just one observation, Dr. Eric Stahlberg is referenced simply as "a contractor", while other references are more specific. Dr. Stahlberg is a scientist in charge of the High-Performance Computing Strategy at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, similar to Argonne, a national laboratory owned by the U.S. government and contractor operated.

Best regards,

Braulio J. Cabral, Ph.D.
Acting Deputy Director
DSITP, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.
Operated by: Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc.

Esther Shein

Thank you for your comments. Eric and I corresponded via email and this was how he signed his notes.

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