This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
HPC aPPliCations: BiomediCal
Saving lives with
Stephen Mounsey looks
at how HPC is transforming
biology and medicine
ospital dramas are a staple of popular
television, but although images
of high-tech medicine form a
backdrop to the human drama of staff and
patients, no programme has yet featured
a surgeon calling out: ‘scalpel . . . swab
. . .supercomputer’. But HPC is already
playing a life-enhancing role in the lives
of patients undergoing kidney dialysis and
promises to hasten the post-genomic era of
Please visit individualised medicine.
the DORII booth
The work of Paul Fischer, a computer
(#2895) in the
scientist at the Argonne National
main exhibit
Laboratory, in Illinois, USA, is improving
the quality of life and the long-term hour dialysis session down to two hours or
survival of patients with kidney disease.
‘An AV graft can cut an eight-
less, which significantly improves a patient’s
Fischer uses some of the 65,536 cores of quality of life.
the IBM Blue Gene/P at the laboratory to
hour dialysis session down
AV grafts are, however, unreliable.
The main focus of the DORII project is on groups of scientific
carry out computational fluid dynamics to two hours or less, which Currently, the grafts can fail within six
users with experimental equipment and instrumentation simulations of how best to arrange the flow
significantly improves a patient’s
months of being implanted, meaning that
that are currently not or only partially integrated in the
of blood from the patient’s body to the further surgery is required to fit another
external dialysis machine.
quality of life’
one. Although the mechanism of the failure
Cyberinfrastructure. At present, following selected
For patients suffering from renal failure, is yet to be characterised definitively, it is
scientific areas are represented in the project: the only treatments available are dialysis or widely thought to result from turbulence
* Earthquake community (with various sensor networks)
a transplant. Haemodialysis requires routing as quick and as comfortable as possible, of the blood flow within the graft. Under
the blood in a patient’s body through a surgeons often make use of arteriovenous normal circumstances, blood in the
* Environmental science community
dialysis machine, which then carries out grafts, or AV grafts. These are pieces of body’s vessels remains laminar, i.e. it flows
* Experimental science community (with synchrotron
the function of the patient’s ineffectual synthetic tubing surgically implanted smoothly, in one direction, at a fairly
and free electron lasers). kidneys by removing waste products such into a patient to connect an artery to a constant velocity in a viscous manner.
as urea and potassium. This process must be vein, usually in the wrist or forearm. By Blood flowing through the graft, however,
carried out several times per week in order connecting a high pressure artery to a moves very quickly relative to its viscosity
to keep a patient healthy, but each dialysis low pressure vein, surgeons can guarantee (i.e. it has a significantly higher Reynolds’
session may take a long time – which that most of the patient’s blood will flow number), and parts of the laminar flow
can be inconvenient – and also requires through this synthetic graft within a short become turbulent. Turbulent flow causes
connecting up the patient’s blood vessels period of time, which makes this ideal as vibrations, and it is these vibrations that
to the dialysis circuit – which can cause the diversion point for the haemodialysis stimulate the smooth muscles within
scarring or infection. To make the process machine. An AV graft can cut an eight- the lining of the vein, meaning that the ➤ SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING WORLD october/november 2009
Contract number: 213110
SCWJun09 DORII.indd 1 1/10/09 13:07:14 SCWOct09 pp32-37 Bio.indd 33 10/1/09 1:28:00 PM
Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56
Produced with Yudu -