A distributed infrastructure for life-science information
In the past decades, biological and medical research has turned data-intensive. Today, thousands of science laboratories across the world generate massive amounts of data every day. In this situation, the traditional ‘download-and-compare’ method is no longer viable – much of the data need to be managed as a federation. Within this federation, however, there has to be a robust technical infrastructure to access, transfer, exchange and analyse the data.
To address this challenge, the ELIXIR Compute Platform was established in 2015 to build distributed cloud, compute, storage and access services for the life-science research community. The strategy is to build on existing services. The ELIXIR Compute Platform has already established a geographically distributed Authentication & Authorisation Infrastructure (AAI). It has also linked Cloud & Compute, Storage and File Transfer Services that are provided by the individual ELIXIR Nodes and which will be discoverable through ELIXIR.
The platform is working closely with four scientific communities (ELIXIR Use Cases) to ensure the technical solutions fit their specific needs. Each of the scientific use cases will establish and manage standards for describing and accessing datasets, reporting data, matching and comparing content, and eventually building linkages between datasets. Those specifications then provide the basis for the work of the ELIXIR Compute Platform.
The four scientific use cases driving the ELIXIR Compute Platform forward are:
Integrating Genomic and Phenotypic Data for Crop and Forest Plants
Integrating ELIXIR Infrastructure for Rare Disease Research
Help for Diagnostics: Human Access-controlled Data
The objective is to combine all components of the ELIXIR Compute services into a seamless workflow: A researcher may use the ELIXIR Authorisation and Authentication services to securely create a scientific software analysis environment and use the environment to access large biological data resources stored in a cloud.