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A Center for Big Data Information Services

Published on 29. Juli 2019, 16:32 h

Institute for Bioinformatics Infrastructure founded by Faculty of Technology

“The quantities of data that we in the life sciences work with are constantly growing. This has made analyzing and storing data a big challenge,” says Professor Dr. Jens Stoye, member of the Genominformatik (“Genome Informatics”) research group in Bielefeld University’s Faculty of Technology. Dr. Stoye is the acting director of the new institute.

Prof. Dr. Jens Stoye, who specializes in genome informatics, serves as acting director of the new Bielefeld Institute for Bioinformatics Infrastructure (BIBI). Photo: Bielefeld University
Prof. Dr. Jens Stoye, who specializes in genome informatics, serves as acting director of the new Bielefeld Institute for Bioinformatics Infrastructure (BIBI). Photo: Bielefeld University
Creating Technologies to Tap into Existing Troves of Data
“Our aim is to ensure that in the future, we will continue to be able to manage large quantities of data, and evaluate them quickly and systematically. This is why re-searchers at the Institut für Bioinformatik-Infrastruktur (Bielefeld Institute for Bioin-formatics Infrastructure, BIBI) are studying new technologies for Big Data. They are also looking at which services researchers in the life sciences need in order to be able to handle large quantities of data,” explains Stoye.

The BIBI’s work encompasses the question of how Big Data can be processed effectively, but also in a way that makes efficient use of resources. “This includes coming up with standards, such as the steps in which an analysis is carried out. This is the only way to compare findings that were obtained at different locations.”

In recent years, research in the life sciences has generated massive amounts of freely accessible data. In order to both organize these research findings and make them more easily accessible, powerful infor-mation infrastructures such as those being studied at the BIBI are needed.

Association with the German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure
The BIBI is associated with the Deutsches Netzwerk für Bioinformatik-Infrastruktur (German Network for Bioinformatics Infra-structure), whose administrative office is located at Bielefeld University’s Zentrum für Biotechnologie (Center for Biotechnolo-gy, CeBiTec). The Network is funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF). Since 2015, the Network has been build-ing a nationwide bioinformatics infrastructure available as a service to researchers in science and industry – free of charge. One of the ser-vices that has come out of the Network is “de.NBI-Cloud,” a system of high-powered computers with more than 16,000 processors and analytics software for genetic data.

At this time, the German Network for Bioin-formatics Infrastructure is being funded as a limited-term, large-scale project. The BIBI seeks to obtain permanent funding for the Network. To achieve this goal, the BIBI is working together with the Kölner Infor-mationszentrum Lebenswissenschaften (Cologne Information Centre for Life Scienc-es, ZB MED) to be admitted to the Leibniz-Gemeinschaft (Leibniz Association). “The pro-cess of solidifying the Network for Bioinfor-matics Infrastructure, which has locations in all federal states, is proving to be a com-plex task that can hopefully be resolved by being admitted to the Leibniz Association,” explains Professor Dr. Alfred Pühler, who serves as Coordinator of the de.NBI and is a Senior Research Professor at CeBiTec.

Joint Professorship with Cologne Infor-mation Centre for Life Sciences
As part of the partnership between Biele-feld University and the Cologne Information Centre for Life Sciences (ZB MED), a new professorship in “Service Science” was cre-ated. The appointment procedure is cur-rently underway. The future appointee to this professorship will assume leadership of the BIBI, which is currently directed by Jens Stoye.

“Both institutes provide researchers in the life sciences with important IT solutions, data, and academic literature,” says Pro-fessor Dr. Dietrich Rebholz-Schuhmann, who heads ZB MED. “Innovative approaches that bring together all three components help contribute to maintaining Germany’s prov-en track record of excellence in cutting-edge research. Our joint scientific work – in microbial bioinformatics, for instance – allows us to offer sophisticated new infor-mation services.”

The BIBI, which was founded in June, already has 30 members. New members will join in October when the Graduate School in “Digi-tal Infrastructure for the Life Sciences” will begin. The Graduate School is part of the BIBI and is funded by Bielefeld University. At the beginning, the Graduate School will have ten doctoral researchers, and later, up to 20. The doctoral researchers will develop new techniques for analyzing life sciences data. In the future, these techniques will be provided free of charge to users throughout Germany via the de.NBI cloud.


More information is available online at:
•    The official website of the BIBI: http://bibi.uni-bielefeld.de 
•    „Zusammenarbeit von ZB MED mit Bioinformatik-Netzwerk“ (“ZB MED Working Together with Bioinformatics Network“ (German-language press release from 26 October 2018): https://bit.ly/2GuIDUf

Prof. Dr. Jens Stoye, Bielefeld University
Faculty of Technology
Telephone: 0521-106 3852
Email: jens.stoye@uni-bielefeld.de

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