On the Tradeoff between Speedup and Energy Consumption in High Performance Computing - A Bioinformatics Case Study

S. Pawaskar and H.H. Ali (USA)


High Performance Computing, Bioinformatics, Energy Awareness, Parallel Processing, Sequence Comparisons


High Performance Computing has been very useful to researchers in the Bioinformatics, Medical and related fields. The bioinformatics domain is rich in applications that require extracting useful information from very large and continuously growing sequence of databases. Automated techniques such as DNA sequencers, DNA microarrays & others are continually growing the dataset that is stored in large public databases such as GenBank and Protein DataBank. Most methods used for analyzing genetic/protein data have been found to be extremely computationally intensive, providing motivation for the use of powerful computers or systems with high throughput characteristics. In this paper, we provide a case study for one such bioinformatics application called BLAT running in a high performance computing environment. We use sequences gathered from researchers and parallelize the runs to study the performance characteristics under three different query and data partitioning models. This research highlights the need to carefully develop a parallel model with energy awareness in mind, based on our understanding of the application and then appropriately designing a parallel model that works well for the specific application and domain. We found that the BLAT program is highly parallelizable and a high degree of speedup is achievable. The experiments suggest that the speed up depends on model used for query and database segmentation..

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