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All data leads to Rome

"The human brain has an average weight of 1.4kg and uses the caloric equivalent of just two bananas eaten per day," says Frackowiak. By contrast, a supercomputer of roughly equal performance would require a power station that could support half a city and would cover surface area equivalent to a few football fields."

"DNA is remarkable: just one gram of DNA can store about a petabyte‘s worth of data, and that’s with the redundancy required to ensure that it’s fully error tolerant," says Birney. "It’s estimated that you could put the whole internet into the size of a van!" Image courtesy Duncan HullFlickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

This week, iSGTW has been at the EUDAT Second Conference in Rome, Italy. EUDAT, which is funded under the European Commission's FP7 scheme, seeks to support a collaborative data infrastructure which will allow researchers to share data within and between communities and enable them to carry out their research effectively.

Richard Frackowiak (above right) and Ewan Birney (below right) were among the speakers during yesterday's plenary sessions at the event. 

In addition to being director of clinical neuroscience at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, Frackowiak is also heavily involved in the Human Brain Project. Yesterday, he discussed the role of big data in making the dream of personalized medicine become a reality. You can read our exclusive interview with Frackowiak, in which he talks in depth about the human brain project, here: Big brains, big data, and big opportunities.

Birney, meanwhile, discussed the challenges of annotating the human genome. He is associate director of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and has played a key role in many large-scale genomics projects, including the sequencing of the human genome. Birney recently spoke to iSGTW about the transformation of biology into "a big-data science". You can read the full interview, in which Birney also discusses some innovative ideas for long-term data storage, here: Data in the DNA: transforming biology and data storage.

Be sure to check iSGTW next week for our full round up of the EUDAT Second Conference. In the meantime, there will be a short post on the event on the EUDAT blog, here. Also, you can find further updates on Twitter under #EUDATC2.


- Andrew Purcell

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