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Europe’s Leading Public-Private Partnership for Cloud

The Helix Nebula Initiative is a partnership between industry, space and science to establish a dynamic ecosystem, benefiting from open cloud services for the seamless integration of science into a business environment. Today, the partnership counts over 40 public and private partners.

PIC Use Case

Medical research in neurodegenerative diseases, both academic and industrial (pharmaceutical), greatly benefits from the results of MRI and PET data processing. Doctor-Researchers are not interested in computing – they just want someone to turn the raw image datasets into feature-rich analysis datasets as quickly as possible. There are very few “Technician-Researchers” to do this job and there are many different ways to process datasets, so a friendly interface is needed. A key factor in accelerating research is turnaround time. Clusters, Grids and Clouds can help here, each with their pluses and minuses.

The PIC port d’informació científica (PIC), has developed a web-based platform running over a cluster that allows researchers to easily store, organize and process data with a vast improvement of turnaround time (from several months to a few days), the so called PICNIC (PIC Neuroimaging Centre).

The PICNICC flagship aims to implement a commercial cloud back-end for PICNIC.

What we want to achieve.

  • Improve the speed and quality of research for finding surrogate biomarkers based on brain images.
  • Early detection of neurodegenerative diseases
  • Study of pharmaceutical effects

Expected impact & benefits

Fast turnaround time in processing large amount of MRIs or PETs without relying on the “charity” of an LHC Tier-1 cluster
Execution of algorithms over several OS or processing units (CPU or GPU) and storage of large amounts of data without buying the hardware or hiring many system administrators
Maintain a user-friendly interface to submit jobs to the Cloud without specific knowledge of scripting, OS specificities, etc.
PICNIC on Cloud would make it easy to move to a full-cost, commercial charging model, which would benefit the expansion of the use of PICNIC by private industry (mainly pharmaceutical).



Helix Nebula is a new, pioneering partnership between leading IT providers and four of Europe’s biggest research centres, CERN, EMBL, ESA and PIC, charting a course towards sustainable cloud services for the research communities - the Science Cloud.