Rice University

Events at Rice

Lecture/Lecture Series

Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology
Computational and Applied Mathematics
Computer Science
Dean of Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Speaker: Larry Smarr
Director, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), Harry E. Gruber Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
UC San Diego

K2I Distinguished Lecture - Dr. Larry Smarr - "Quantifying Your Superorganism Body Using Big Data Supercomputing"

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
4:00 PM  to 5:00 PM

McMurtry Auditorium  George R. Brown Hall
Rice University
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA

The human body is host to 100 trillion microorganisms, ten times the number of cells in the human body and these microbes contain 100 times the number of DNA genes that our human DNA does. The microbial component of this "superorganism" is comprised of hundreds of species spread over many taxonomic phyla. The human immune system is tightly coupled with this microbial ecology and in cases of autoimmune disease, both the immune system and the microbial ecology can have excursions far from normal. There are even some tantalizing clues that certain types of dysbiosis in the gut microbiome can be precursors of some forms of cancer. Using massive amounts of data that I collected on my own body over the last five years, I will show detailed examples of the episodic evolution of this coupled immune-microbial system. To decode the details of the microbial ecology requires high resolution genome sequencing feeding Big Data parallel supercomputers. We have also developed innovative scalable visualization systems to examine the complexities of my time-varying microbial ecology and its relations to the NIH Human Microbiome Program data on people in states of health and disease.

Biography of Larry Smarr:
Larry Smarr is the founding Director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a UC San Diego/UC Irvine partnership, and holds the Harry E. Gruber professorship in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) of UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering as well as a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2006 he received the IEEE Computer Society Tsutomu Kanai Award for his lifetime achievements in distributed computing systems. He serves on the NASA Advisory Council to the NASA Administrator, the DOE ESnet Policy Board, and chairs the NSF Advisory Committee on Cyberinfrastructure. For eight years he was a member of the NIH Advisory Committee to the NIH Director, serving 3 directors. For the last 7 years he has been the PI of the Moore Foundation CAMERA global microbial metagenomics computational repository. His personal interests include growing orchids, snorkeling coral reefs, and quantifying the state of his body. You can follow him on his life-streaming portal at http://lsmarr.calit2.net.

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