The Living Heart Project Wins Three Prestigious Awards for HPC Simulation

By Bill Mannel, VP & GM, HPC Segment Solutions and Apollo Servers, Data Center Infrastructure Group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

December 20, 2017

Imagine creating a treatment plan for a patient on the other side of the world, or testing a drug without ever putting subjects at risk. 3D modeling and simulation tools have opened the door to a new age of healthcare. Operations like the Living Heart Project are uniting industry-leading researchers, doctors, educators, and technology manufacturers to reach a higher standard for personalized medicine. Leveraging advanced modeling and simulation capabilities, the Living Heart Project has developed highly accurate, validated models of the human heart which can be personalized by patients’ unique traits and conditions. The Living Heart Project is a growing ecosystem that is fueling the collaborative development of commercially available heart models and exploring novel digital therapies.

Today, life sciences organizations are harnessing modeling and simulation tools backed by the latest high performance computing (HPC) innovations to virtually analyze their patients’ health records, plan therapies, and practice surgical procedures. These realistic models will serve as a common technology base for education and training, medical device design, testing, clinical diagnosis, and regulatory science—working to both enhance and accelerate patient care.

Next-generation technology for modern healthcare

The latest Living Heart Project, a study on drug-induced heart arrhythmias, resulted from the cooperation between Stanford University, Dassault Systèmes, UberCloud, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and Advania. The collaboration received three prestigious HPC awards during SC’17.

The Living Matter Laboratory of Stanford University is now using HPC simulations to study the potentially lethal side effects of drugs—such as heart arrhythmias, which occur when electrical activity in the heart turns chaotic. Utilizing a multi-scale 3D model, researchers can monitor blood circulation and predict the risk of drug-induced arrhythmias, based on a variety of cell types within the tissue. The model allows researchers to assess the response of new drug compounds (like Quinidine – below) quickly and cost-effectively before it is released on the market.

Source: UberCloud 2017

For this study, the Stanford Living Heart Project—in conjunction with SIMULIA, UberCloud, HPE, and Advania—introduced a containerized version of the Living Heart Model, developed by UberCloud and based on HPE Apollo systems, that enables drug developers to virtually test and ultimately prevent harmful side effects. Researchers can now test 250,000,000 internal variables which are updated and stored within each step of the simulation. To date, the Stanford University team has run 42 simulations (each taking 40 hours to complete on a 5-node system) to determine whether a drug may cause arrhythmias. Thanks to HPE Apollo systems, simulations can run seamlessly on-premises, off-premises, and in the cloud with no compromise on performance, costs, or service-level agreement (SLA).

The digital healthcare revolution

HPC is driving major breakthroughs in life sciences and becoming foundational to success. Today, HPE is harnessing the extreme scalability of the cloud to maximize agility and scalability both on and off-premises. In order to support groundbreaking efforts like the Living Heart Project, HPE is building a network of worldwide and regional HPC Cloud service providers to deliver capabilities that are changing lives.

Utilizing a Hybrid HPC approach, the Living Heart Project and its partners designed a simulation software tool to ensure optimal performance, usability, and security. With the creation of this innovative heart model, researchers will have the opportunity to increase the number of successful drugs on the market and rapidly improve patient care, while decreasing the time and cost of production.

The Living Heart Project was presented three prestigious awards for their efforts in HPC simulation, including the Hyperion Award for Innovation Excellence, the HPCwire Editors’ Choice Award for Best Use of HPC in the Cloud, as well as being award best paper at the Intel Developer Conference. According to Wolfgang Gentzsch of UberCloud, the entire Living Heart Project team, led by researchers from the Living Matter Laboratory at Stanford University is “proud and humbled” by these awards as well as “deeply grateful for all the support from HPE and Intel (the sponsors), Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA (for Abaqus 2017), Advania, and the UberCloud tech team for containerizing Abaqus and integrating all software and hardware components into one seamless solution stack.”

To learn more about HPE’s vision for Hybrid HPC, click here to read our dedicated business whitepaper. I also encourage you to follow me on Twitter at @Bill_Mannel to explore how the Living Heart Project is revolutionizing patient care. And check out @HPE_HPC for up-to-the-minute news on HPC solutions for life sciences and other HPE innovations.

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