Lawrence Livermore upholds a reputation for innovation in high performance computing, and its application to biological research is just one area in which that innovative spirit manifests. In an effort to advance human health, Livermore researchers along with colleagues at IBM in New York have developed a highly scalable code, Cardioid, that replicates the electrophysiology of the human heart. The groundbreaking heart simulations, which were developed and performed on one of Lawrence Livermore’s top supercomputers, have the potential for a wide range of applications, such as helping medical researchers better understand the mechanisms leading to heart ailments and the potential drug interactions that may occur during treatment.
The joint venture employs strengths from both IBM and Livermore—utilizing cardiology expertise from IBM’s computational biologists and computational science and parallel algorithms expertise from Lawrence Livermore’s scientists. The Cardioid code allows simulation at roughly the spatial resolution of a heart cell, providing researchers with a level of detail not previously achieved. With the combination of a three-dimensional discrete model of the human heart and software to reconstruct the anatomy of a torso, Cardioid offers a multiscale simulation capability spanning from subcellular mechanisms up to clinical signals collected from actual patients. Cardioid thus provides the extended cardiac simulations necessary to investigate how specific medications affect the heart rate—information that could aid medical centers, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device firms in discovering new drugs and patient-specific therapies to treat cardiovascular disease and improve heart health.
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