Ernest Moniz: Supercomputers key to Cancer Moonshot efforts

Cancer moonshot

There’s a key to the Cancer Moonshot, according to Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz: Supercomputers.

The machines, he writes in a post at Medium, can speed up creation of cancer therapies by seeking patterns in datasets that are too large for humans to analyze. He adds that his department’s work with supercomputers is “pushing the intersection of big data analytics, machine learning, and modeling and simulation.”

“Supercomputers can help us better understand the complexity of cancer development, identify novel and effective treatments, and help elucidate patterns in vast and complex data sets that advance our understanding of cancer,” he writes.

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Moniz says he was eager to join the initiative, which is being spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden. The Energy Department will lend its support, as well as the support of its 17 national laboratories.

Biden spoke during Health Datapalooza last month, emphasizing the need for researchers to share information with one another to improve potential breakthroughs in the fight against cancer.

Moniz notes that this isn’t his department’s first foray into healthcare--its own supercomputers helped to map the human genome.

The first steps the department will take in the Cancer Moonshot, Moniz says, will include working with the National Cancer Institute and the Department of Veterans Affairs to analyze patient records.

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