Japan ToMMo Supercomputer-Powered Biobank Is Leveraging DDN® Solutions

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DDN Storage has announced that Tohoku University Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo) has increased its supercomputing capacity to build an advanced medical system, by increasing the capabilities and efficiency of the supercomputer-powered biobank, leveraging DDN® solutions and NVIDIA DGX-1 servers.

ToMMo was founded in 2012 to establish an advanced medical system to foster the reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake. The organization has been developing a biobank that combines medical and genome information during the process of rebuilding the community medical system and supporting health and welfare in the Tohoku area. The information from the brand-new biobank will create a new medical system, and, based on the findings of its analysis, the organization aims to attract more medical practitioners from all over the country to the area, promote industry-academic partnerships, create employment in related fields, and restore the medical system in Tohoku.

DataDirect Networks (DDN) is the world’s leading big data storage supplier to data-intensive, global organizations. Since 1998, orchestrated from the Greater Los Angeles Area, DDN has designed, developed, deployed and optimized systems, software and storage solutions that enable enterprises, service providers, universities and government agencies to generate more value and to accelerate time to insight from their data and information, on premise and in the cloud.

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Whole-genome sequence data from samples supplied by residents in the disaster area of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami is expected to total around 5,000 by the end of 2019. The number of total participants in the organization’s cohort studies has reached 150,000 and the samples and data collected as part of these studies has been put to use by ToMMo, as well as a large number of outside researchers to accelerate and advance many research projects.

Designed for large-scale medical information technology research and analytics, ToMMo was overhauled in 2018 with the goal of improving competitiveness and providing access to data and computational/analytical functionality with both internal and external research organizations. These improvements included greatly expanding its DDN shared parallel storage appliance capacity to 29 PB and connecting the system to NVIDIA DGX-1 GPU-based servers running Parabricks genomic analytical software. The result was a dramatic increase in system performance.

“By bringing in new technologies we didn’t have in the beginning – AI, GPUs, next-generation CPUs, and ultra-high-performance data storage – we have boosted our analytical capacity and our sample sizes, giving us a major leg up in terms of the accuracy of our data analyses.” … “By being able to deal with a much larger dataset, we have been able to develop successful new methodologies that had previously only existed in theory.” – Professor Kengo Kinoshita, Ph. D., deputy executive director of ToMMo and director of the Center for Genome Platform Projects

“Advanced genomic modeling will very likely be the foundation for a large portion of all future medical experimentation, research and ultimately breakthroughs.” … “All of us at DDN have been thrilled to be working closely with ToMMo on its efforts to build one of the world’s preeminent biobanks. It is gratifying to be able to help our customers be able to deliver potentially life altering services.” – Kurt Kuckein, DDN’s director of marketing


  1. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tohoku-university-boosts-analytical-capacity-for-biobank-medical-research-300869210.html
  2. https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/datadirect-networks#section-overview