New advances in biology are being made at a rapidly increasing pace, largely due new technologies and large amount of automation. The advent of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology has brought in a new dimension to understand the molecular bases of living organisms. The pace of sequencing is leading to data overload and therefore the ability to analyze it is much beyond the existing computing capabilities. This tsunami of data has let to a change in storage and computing requirements. In order to gear up to tackle these challenges most biologists are adopting the use of cyberinfrastructure. Cyberinfrastructure is a combination of data recourses, high speed networks and high performance computing resources that bring people, information and computational resources together to perform science in this information driven world. BRAF is one such effort towards building a cyberinfrastructure dedicated to life sciences.
The BRAF facility was inaugurated in the year 2004 and the facility will complete a decade of service to the nation in the year 2014. It has been a long journey and a major share of the credit goes to the Department of Electronics and Information Technologies (DeitY) New Delhi, Government of India, for their continuous financial support for this activity. Over the last 10 years the BRAF facility has built up a total Supercomputing Capacity of 16 TF along with half a petabyte of dedicated storage. This facility has been powered with C-DAC's accelerator cards for enhanced performance for life sciences applications.
Over the years the BRAF facility has become a platform for national and international collaborations leading to high impact publications in international peer reviewed journals. The BRAF facility has also served as a platform for a number of industrial projects. The facility has been widely used by numerous researchers across the globe and has resulted in more than 80 international journal publications where BRAF usage has been acknowledged. The BRAF facility has also given a major thrust to in house research which is indicated by the work done resulting in a publication inNature Methods. A major amount of thrust has been given to ensure the outreach of the technologies developed by the group. This is evident from the fact that more than 13 Symposia have been organized by the group and the group has participated in more than 8 national exhibitions.
After serving the bioinformatics community for more than 10 years it is envisaged that the BRAF facility would grow further to evolve into a Leadership Centre for Computational Biology. It is expected that such a centre would provide a technological edge to India so as to enable researchers to take up grand challenge problems in the near future. This is of strategic importance for the development of science and technology in the country. This will be an extremely important investment as the country moves towards adopting genomic technologies in the areas of human health, agriculture, livestock and environment.