Google Demystifies Austim Speaks’ Big Data Conundrum

In a revolutionary move, advocacy organization Autism Speaks and tech giant Google have announced collaboration for a genome-sequencing project designed to demystify Autism using Google Cloud. Affecting 1 in every 68 children, autism is a disease on the rise, impacting tens of millions worldwide, with little known about causes, prevention, or environmental factors that influence the early brain development where autism’s risk factors are thought to be rooted in. By analyzing the genetic sequences, scientists hope to identify patterns and accelerate research on the disorder. In an unprecedented collaboration between business, science and philanthropy, Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, discussed the recently announced partnership with Google and specifically how Google has the capacity to do the work that the government cannot scale. Essentially, he states, modern biology research is limited now by data. After accumulating the largest private collection of genetic samples (roughly 12,000 autism cases) no other platform, Ivy League university, or government system could process the data.

Cloud Computing for Seamless Collaboration

Google’s Cloud Platform will serve as an open resource to support autism research, leverage cloud technology, cloud storage and computation that the field of genomics has never seen before. Cloud computing allows all researchers, anywhere, to access and collaborate with the data. Additionally, for those institutions lacking the technology infrastructure, they can conduct their research through a web browser and servers instead of relying on their individual computers to download and process the heavy data. Previously, sharing data has meant downloading physical hard drives and manually shipping to the recipient. The processes, efficiencies and cost-effectiveness of cloud storage are undeniable and can be leveraged across industries.”Cloud computing is the great leveler,” says Mark DeLong, director of research computing at Duke University. Also, “it opens up new avenues for talent development.” The medical community is stereotypically a laggard in the tech world, but the adoption of cloud computing is a testament for any business that the cloud can revolutionize and streamline workflows. Cloud computing will continue to break down communication barriers for a truly agile approach and increases the power of small expert teams.