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ARCCA delivers a computational service to support NHS clinical diagnostics in Wales

16 December 2020

Dark image of the supercomputer with lights

In collaboration with the All-Wales Medical Genomics Service (AWMGS), ARCCA have implemented a new computational facility, “WREN”, to support clinical diagnostics in Wales.

The WREN service is a groundbreaking NHS Wales and Cardiff University High Performance Computing (HPC) collaboration comprising specialist computing technology located at the University Hospital of Wales Heath campus and the Redwood datacentre, operating within an extended private NHS network spanning both sites.

Funded through a Welsh Government Award, the WREN service is hosted and operated by ARCCA technical experts to support AWMGS bioinformaticians in the delivery of nationwide clinical services to detect genetic alterations which inform personalised diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic decisions. The infrastructure provides a secure replicated DellEMC Isilon storage system which is closely coupled with an Intel Skylake Compute Cluster (using Xeon Gold 6148 processors) containing NVMe high performance storage.

The primary driver was to replace the original XMA/Viglen system with the latest technology and provide a future proof computational platform to deliver clinicial diagnostic services as they increasingly utilise the complex data generated on current and next generation sequencers. ARCCA collaborated with colleagues at AWMGS, Cardiff and Vale NHS IT, University IT, and our technology providers Atos and Dell, to design and procure a new service. The WREN system is optimally configured to deliver the technology necessary to conduct computational genomics sequencing workflows to support this important clinical service.

It has been designed to enable the service to be expanded as the sequencers and service evolves, providing the foundations to support future research collaboration between Cardiff University and the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, as well as the potential for wider genomics collaborative partnerships across Welsh NHS sites.

With the service now in full production, through effective partnership, both ARCCA and AWMGS aim to deliver high quality, responsive solutions and foster excellence in healthcare research and education. It is anticipated that this partnership will promote opportunities for future joint collaborative research by providing the underpinning framework through the hosting of the WREN service.

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