Genomics and big data; and I ♥ Milton Keynes

I attended a recent conference run by the Sanger Institute and supplier DDN on genomics and big data, which involved a visit to the Sanger’s famous laboratories and data centre. Genomics could produce between two and 40 exabytes of data annually by 2025; astronomy, which churns out data, is expected to produce just one exabyte. A decent-sized PC hard-drive holds a terabyte of data, roughly a million megabytes; an exabyte is roughly a million terabytes. A lot. The resulting article for is here.

The massive scale of genomics data is forcing those providing its IT to rediscover old efficiency techniques. It is also seeing institutions working to upgrade their facilities. This includes University of Oxford, which is working on a new Big Data Institute near the city’s hospitals in Headington.

However, the data centre for the Big Data Institute will not be on-site: there isn’t anywhere in Oxford with enough electricity. Swindon is always good for these kinds of things, I have found.

Milton Keynes road with trees

For Beacon, I have also just published an article on the joys of Milton Keynes, the much-traduced new town (despite having 230,000 residents, it’s not actually a city). It really is looking pretty good these days, with the trees maturing, a lack of traffic congestion and three hours free parking right in the middle of town. Full piece, with extensive reference to the recent RSC production of Henry V, here.