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Compute Power Delivers Across Fields


By Allison Proffitt

March 1, 2008 | VenturiOne, Applied Cytometry’s newest flow cytometry software, features many advances for analyzing flow cytometry data. But it promises to do a great deal more than that.

The U.K.-based company specializes in software to streamline the analysis of flow cytometry data. VenturiOne employs a Microsoft Vista look and feel to make data analysis quick and intuitive. As flow cytometry technologies have advanced, VenturiOne has met those advances. From offering analysis of three color tags a decade ago, the company can now parse out 15 to 18 different colors.

The limiting factor, says Tony Burpee, CEO, has always been the processing power. “[Researchers] have discs heaving with photos and images,” Burpee says. “We had to have a better mechanism for dealing with large amounts of data. And then we took a look at the technology surrounding the processing of data and we came to a really simple conclusion... If you wanted to get faster software as the next generation of multi-core computers came out, then you would have to find a way to evenly scale the work across all of the processors in the box.”

Running All Cores
VenturiOne features multi-core access technology to spread the processing power across all available cores to analyze data as quickly as possible. Burpee says VenturiOne analyzes flow cytometry data sets, “routinely in the multi megabyte range, instantly. You don’t even see it. Files that are in the hundreds of megabytes, it’ll take two or three seconds.” Burpee says that the VenturiOne software scales evenly up to 32 cores and beyond, with “no upper limit.”  

The technology is patent pending in the United States, and Burpee isn’t quite ready to give away specifics, but he acknowledges that flow cytometry isn’t the most data rich field. “Genomics and proteomics,” Burpee lists as areas of interest, “where we know there’s lots of compute-intensive activity going on. What we’re aiming to do is build relationships with other companies who have the domain expertise in those areas. This is where the Venturi core technology will really begin to make a significant difference.”

Burpee says that the technology has changed the Applied Cytometry business plan. Business development is now divided between life sciences applications and non life science applications including finance and census data. “Because we come from a bio background, it’s more straightforward for us to build business relationships with people who are currently in the biological area,” he says. But the company plans to license the technology to anyone “who needs things to go faster.”

“If you think of all the people who generate large volumes of data, that’s where we want to be. In fact the larger the volumes of data, for us, actually the better,” Burpee says, “because we can demonstrate significant performance improvement.” 

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 This article appeared in Bio-IT World Magazine.
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