ESnet’s Science DMZ Design Could Help Transfer, Protect Medical Research Data

October 17, 2017

Oct. 17, 2017 — Like other sciences, medical research is generating increasingly large datasets as doctors track health trends, the spread of diseases, genetic causes of illness and the like. Effectively using this data for efforts ranging from stopping the spread of deadly viruses to creating precision medicine treatments for individuals will be greatly accelerated by the secure sharing of the data, while also protecting individual privacy.

In a paper published Friday, Oct. 6 by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, a group of researchers led by Sean Peisert of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) wrote that the Science DMZ architecture developed for moving large data sets quick and securely could be adapted to meet the needs of the medical research community.

The Science DMZ traces its name to an element of network security architecture. Typically, located at the network perimeter, a DMZ has its own security policy because of its dedicated purpose – exchanging data with the outside world.

Exponentially increasing amounts of data from genomics, high quality imaging and other clinical data sets could provide valuable resources for preventing and treating medical conditions. But unlike most scientific data, medical information is subject to strict privacy protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) so any sharing of data must ensure that these protections are met.

Image courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

“You can’t just take the medical data from one site and drop it straight in to another site because of the policy constraints on that data,” said Eli Dart, a network engineer at the Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) who is a co-author of the paper. “But as members of a society, our health could benefit if the medical science community can become more productive in terms of accessing relevant data.”

For example, an authenticated user could query a very large data base stored at multiple sites to learn more about an emerging medical issue, such as the appearance of a new virus, said Peisert, who works in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division. In this way, teams of widely dispersed experts could collaborate in real-time to address the problem.

According to the authors of the paper, the storage, analysis and network resources needed to handle the data and integrate it into patient diagnoses and treatments have grown so much that they strain the capabilities of academic health centers. At the same time, shared data repositories like those at the National Library of Medicine, the National Cancer Institute and international partners such as the European Bioinformatics Institute are rapidly growing.

“But by implementing a Medical Science DMZ architecture, we believe biomedical researchers can leverage the scale provided by high performance computer and cloud storage facilities and national high-speed research networks while preserving privacy and meeting regulatory requirements,” Peisert said. “Access would of course need to be properly authenticated, but unlocking the world’s medical information could yield enormous benefits.”

The authors define a “Medical Science DMZ” as “a method or approach that allows data flows at scale while simultaneously addressing the HIPAA Security Rule and related regulations governing biomedical data and appropriately managing risk.” Their network design pattern addresses Big Data and can be implemented using a combination of physical, administrative and technical safeguards.

The paper was written as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are spearheading a “Commons Initiative” for sharing data; the NIH have long provided reference data through the National Library of Medicine. The National Cancer Institute funded a number of pilot projects to use cloud computing for cancer genomics in 2016, and the initiative has since continued and expanded beyond the pilot phase.s. Many universities with high-performance computing facilities available are increasingly applying their capacity to biomedical research.

The Science DMZ network architecture, which is used by more than 100 research institutions across the country, provides speed and security for moving large data sets. Dart led the development of the Science DMZ concept, formalized it in 2010, and has been helping organizations deploy it ever since.

A Science DMZ is specifically dedicated to external-facing high-performance science services and is separate from an organization’s production network, which allows bulk science data transfers to be secured without inheriting the performance limitations of the infrastructure used to defend enterprise applications.

Data transfers using Science DMZs are straightforward from a network security perspective: the data transfer nodes (specially tuned servers) exchange security credentials to authenticate the transfer and then open several connections to move the specified data. One the job is completed, the connections close down. In the case of moving medical data, the information is encrypted both while it is being stored and while it’s moving across the network.

“There’s no magic,” Dart said. “The security is easy to manage in that the sites are known entities and nothing moves without proper security credentials.”

In fact, Dart said, such transfers pose less of a security problem than surfing the web on a personal computer connected to an open network. When someone browses a web site, the user’s computer downloads content from many different locations as specified by the web page, including ads that are sold and resold by firms around the world and may contain malware or other security threats. A data transfer between Science DMZs is a comparatively simple operation that doesn’t involve image rendering or media players (which are common attack surfaces), and only transfers data from approved endpoints.

In their paper, the authors present the details of three implementations and describe how they balance the key aspects of a Medical Science DMZ of high-throughput and regulatory compliance. Indiana University, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago all use a non-firewalled approach to moving HIPAA-protected data in their Medical Science DMZs. Each site has implemented frameworks that allow free flow of data where needed and address HIPAA using alternate, reasonable and appropriate controls that manage risk.

In each case the data transfers are encrypted, and can only be initiated by authenticated and authorized users. The interactive network traffic needed to initiate such transfers still passes through one or more systems that are heavily protected and monitored. Although firewalls are not removed entirely from the system, they are used intelligently and overall system security is maintained while still permitting the transfer of sensitive data, such as large biomedical datasets.

“We wrote this paper as a starting point,” Peisert said, “and hope that it will allow a lot of great things to happen.”

ESnet is a DOE Office of Science User Facility. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.


Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

SC Bids Farewell to Denver, Heads to Dallas for 30th

November 17, 2017

After a jam-packed four-day expo and intensive six-day technical program, SC17 has wrapped up another successful event that brought together nearly 13,000 visitors to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver for the larg Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC17 Keynote – HPC Powers SKA Efforts to Peer Deep into the Cosmos

November 17, 2017

This week’s SC17 keynote – Life, the Universe and Computing: The Story of the SKA Telescope – was a powerful pitch for the potential of Big Science projects that also showcased the foundational role of high performance computing in modern science. It was also visually stunning. Read more…

By John Russell

How Cities Use HPC at the Edge to Get Smarter

November 17, 2017

Cities are sensoring up, collecting vast troves of data that they’re running through predictive models and using the insights to solve problems that, in some cases, city managers didn’t even know existed. Speaking Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Harness Scalable Petabyte Storage with HPE Apollo 4510 and HPE StoreEver

As a growing number of connected devices challenges IT departments to rapidly collect, manage, and store troves of data, organizations must adopt a new generation of IT to help them operate quickly and intelligently. Read more…

SC17 Student Cluster Competition Configurations: Fewer Nodes, Way More Accelerators

November 16, 2017

The final configurations for each of the SC17 “Donnybrook in Denver” Student Cluster Competition have been released. Fortunately, each team received their equipment shipments on time and undamaged, so the teams are r Read more…

By Dan Olds

SC Bids Farewell to Denver, Heads to Dallas for 30th

November 17, 2017

After a jam-packed four-day expo and intensive six-day technical program, SC17 has wrapped up another successful event that brought together nearly 13,000 visit Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC17 Keynote – HPC Powers SKA Efforts to Peer Deep into the Cosmos

November 17, 2017

This week’s SC17 keynote – Life, the Universe and Computing: The Story of the SKA Telescope – was a powerful pitch for the potential of Big Science projects that also showcased the foundational role of high performance computing in modern science. It was also visually stunning. Read more…

By John Russell

How Cities Use HPC at the Edge to Get Smarter

November 17, 2017

Cities are sensoring up, collecting vast troves of data that they’re running through predictive models and using the insights to solve problems that, in some Read more…

By Doug Black

Student Cluster LINPACK Record Shattered! More LINs Packed Than Ever before!

November 16, 2017

Nanyang Technological University, the pride of Singapore, utterly destroyed the Student Cluster Competition LINPACK record by posting a score of 51.77 TFlop/s a Read more…

By Dan Olds

Hyperion Market Update: ‘Decent’ Growth Led by HPE; AI Transparency a Risk Issue

November 15, 2017

The HPC market update from Hyperion Research (formerly IDC) at the annual SC conference is a business and social “must,” and this year’s presentation at S Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Focuses Its Cloud Containers on HPC Applications

November 14, 2017

Having migrated its top-of-the-line datacenter GPU to the largest cloud vendors, Nvidia is touting its Volta architecture for a range of scientific computing ta Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Launches ARM-based Apollo System for HPC, AI

November 14, 2017

HPE doubled down on its memory-driven computing vision while expanding its processor portfolio with the announcement yesterday of the company’s first ARM-base Read more…

By Doug Black

OpenACC Shines in Global Climate/Weather Codes

November 14, 2017

OpenACC, the directive-based parallel programming model used mostly for porting codes to GPUs for use on heterogeneous systems, came to SC17 touting impressive Read more…

By John Russell

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line

July 28, 2017

This week Cray announced that it is picking up Seagate's ClusterStor HPC storage array business for an undisclosed sum. "In short we're effectively transitioning the bulk of the ClusterStor product line to Cray," said CEO Peter Ungaro. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

IBM Advances Web-based Quantum Programming

September 5, 2017

IBM Research is pairing its Jupyter-based Data Science Experience notebook environment with its cloud-based quantum computer, IBM Q, in hopes of encouraging a new class of entrepreneurial user to solve intractable problems that even exceed the capabilities of the best AI systems. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This