NCI Cancer Genomics Cloud Pilots
Current Needs in Cancer Research
The challenges posed by the need to disseminate, manage, and interpret large, multi-scale data pervade efforts to advance understanding of cancer biology and apply that knowledge in the clinic. For several years, the volume of data routinely generated by high-throughput research technologies has grown exponentially. The storage, transmission, and analysis of these data have become too costly for individual laboratories and most small to medium research organizations to support. For optimal progress to occur, access to large, valuable data collections and advanced computational capacity must be readily available to the widest possible audience.
On April 7, 2013, Dr. Harold Varmus and other members of the Institute's senior leadership issued a to NCI grantees seeking input on these and other computational challenges they encounter on an almost daily basis. Dr. Varmus stated that the NCI, as part of its ongoing investigations into next-generation computational capabilities to serve the research community, has begun exploring the possibility of creating one or more public "cancer knowledge clouds" in which data repositories would be co-located with advanced computing resources, thereby enabling researchers to bring their analytical tools and methods to the data. Reactions to this informal request for information were generally positive, with respondents focusing on : data access; computing capacity and infrastructure; data interoperability; training; usability; and governance.
Based in part on this information, Dr. George Komatsoulis, interim director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (CBIIT), which administers the National Cancer Informatics Program (NCIP), led the creation of a concept document describing a project to develop up to three cancer genomics cloud pilots for review by the cancer-research community. Dr. Komatsoulis presented the concept (time reference 05:58:00) at a joint meeting of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors (BSA) and the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) on , where it received unanimous approval.
The NCI Is Seeking Community Input
Soon after the concept was approved, NCI issued a Research and Development Sources Sought Notice providing a synopsis of requirements and asking respondents to submit capability statements. The deadline for submissions was July 24, 2013.
Simultaneously with beginning the procurement process, the NCIP established an on August 8, 2013 to allow the community to contribute critical use cases that the cloud pilots will need to support. For more detailed information, consult the official siteRequest for Information: IdeaScale for Cancer Genomics Cloud Pilots on FedBizOpps. A recent posting on the NCI Biomedical Informatics Blog explains the rationale behind the decision to use IdeaScale.
The IdeaScale site will be locked from additional input to coincide with the release of the anticipated Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). It will remain open, however, as a reference for potential offerors.
The Contracting and Award Process
In preparation for the BAA, the NCI posted a pre-solicitation notice on November 25, 2013, on indicating that the solicitation will be released on or around December 10, 2013.
Theis the specific contract mechanism that will support development of the cancer genomics cloud pilots. The project will go through three phases:
The organizations selected to develop the clouds will be expected to collaborate with each other and with the groups managing the NCI Center for Cancer Genomics (CCG) Data Coordinating Center. NCIP activities are being conducted in concert with the CCG Data Coordinating Center, which will provide an authoritative public data set for use in the cloud pilots. Interchange among the organizations involved will help ensure adherence to a common set of data elements and vocabularies among the cloud pilots in support of operations that may span cloud implementations.
News Articles and Press Releases
J. Marks, Bidding Process Begins for Cancer-curing Computer Clouds. NextGov Newsletter, November 26, 2013
J. Marks, How Computer Clouds Could Help Cure Cancer. NextGov Newsletter, August 5, 2013
J. Foley, 10 Game-Changing Developments in Government Clouds. Forbes, July 29, 2013
U.G. Thomas, NCI Board Approves Proposed Cancer Genomics Cloud Pilots. BioInform, July 12, 2013
Related Information Resources
G. Komatsoulis, Computational Needs for Large-scale Data Analysis: Towards a Cancer Knowledge Cloud (NCI Biomedical Informatics Blog)
J. Klemm, Input on Cancer Knowledge Clouds: Key Themes from the Community (NCI Biomedical Informatics Blog)
Research and Development Sources Sought Notice for Cancer Genomics Cloud Pilots (Solicitation Number: HHS-NIH-NCI-RDSS-MOSB-2402-80)
G. Komatsoulis, NCI Board of Scientific Advisors Approves NCI Cancer Genomics Cloud Concept (NCI Biomedical Informatics Blog)