Enabling computationally intensive bioinformatics applications on the Grid platform

Trombetti, Gabriele Antonio (2008) Enabling computationally intensive bioinformatics applications on the Grid platform, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria elettronica, informatica e delle telecomunicazioni, 20 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/922.
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Bioinformatics is a recent and emerging discipline which aims at studying biological problems through computational approaches. Most branches of bioinformatics such as Genomics, Proteomics and Molecular Dynamics are particularly computationally intensive, requiring huge amount of computational resources for running algorithms of everincreasing complexity over data of everincreasing size. In the search for computational power, the EGEE Grid platform, world's largest community of interconnected clusters load balanced as a whole, seems particularly promising and is considered the new hope for satisfying the everincreasing computational requirements of bioinformatics, as well as physics and other computational sciences. The EGEE platform, however, is rather new and not yet free of problems. In addition, specific requirements of bioinformatics need to be addressed in order to use this new platform effectively for bioinformatics tasks. In my three years' Ph.D. work I addressed numerous aspects of this Grid platform, with particular attention to those needed by the bioinformatics domain. I hence created three major frameworks, Vnas, GridDBManager and SETest, plus an additional smaller standalone solution, to enhance the support for bioinformatics applications in the Grid environment and to reduce the effort needed to create new applications, additionally addressing numerous existing Grid issues and performing a series of optimizations. The Vnas framework is an advanced system for the submission and monitoring of Grid jobs that provides an abstraction with reliability over the Grid platform. In addition, Vnas greatly simplifies the development of new Grid applications by providing a callback system to simplify the creation of arbitrarily complex multistage computational pipelines and provides an abstracted virtual sandbox which bypasses Grid limitations. Vnas also reduces the usage of Grid bandwidth and storage resources by transparently detecting equality of virtual sandbox files based on content, across different submissions, even when performed by different users. BGBlast, evolution of the earlier project GridBlast, now provides a Grid Database Manager (GridDBManager) component for managing and automatically updating biological flatfile databases in the Grid environment. GridDBManager sports very novel features such as an adaptive replication algorithm that constantly optimizes the number of replicas of the managed databases in the Grid environment, balancing between response times (performances) and storage costs according to a programmed cost formula. GridDBManager also provides a very optimized automated management for older versions of the databases based on reverse delta files, which reduces the storage costs required to keep such older versions available in the Grid environment by two orders of magnitude. The SETest framework provides a way to the user to test and regressiontest Python applications completely scattered with side effects (this is a common case with Grid computational pipelines), which could not easily be tested using the more standard methods of unit testing or test cases. The technique is based on a new concept of datasets containing invocations and results of filtered calls. The framework hence significantly accelerates the development of new applications and computational pipelines for the Grid environment, and the efforts required for maintenance. An analysis of the impact of these solutions will be provided in this thesis. This Ph.D. work originated various publications in journals and conference proceedings as reported in the Appendix. Also, I orally presented my work at numerous international conferences related to Grid and bioinformatics.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Trombetti, Gabriele Antonio
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
grid bioinformatics adaptive replication optimization regression testing
Data di discussione
7 Aprile 2008

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