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Case Study: Cardioid and Drug Discovery

HPC Enables Cardiac Studies Previously Impossible

Cardioid is the world’s most detailed simulation of the human heart in action. Developed in partnership between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and IBM, the highly scalable code replicates the heart’s electrical system — the current that originates from and travels through the heart causing it to beat and pump blood through the body.

The simulation depicts the activation of each heart muscle cell and the cell-to-cell transfer of the voltage of up to 3 billion cells. It can do so in near-real time and with accuracy and resolution previously unavailable.

For the first time, fully detailed whole heart models can be run quickly enough to examine how potentially fatal arrhythmias develop and are influenced by the administration of drugs and the use of medical devices.

The Heartbeat of Collaboration

Such punctuated advancements in high performance computing (HPC) are driven by highly capable computational science teams expertly applying foundational HPC techniques, regardless of the phenomena under study.

With Cardioid, the LLNL team relied on IBM’s computational biologists to deliver domain expertise in cardiology  while LLNL computer scientists, physicists and mathematicians delivered the computational expertise and parallel algortihm development.

From decades of solving complex computational challenges along a broad spectrum of scientific fields in support of the nation’s defense, LLNL computational teams have mastered working with domain experts to accurately model underlying science principles, develop efficient parallel algorithms, manage complex data and visualize simulation results.

Cardioid is available now for companies wishing to utilize the code for investigation of the physiological parameters currently accounted for in the model. We also welcome the opportunity to further evolve the code and expand its capabilities.

Revolutionary Capabilities

Cardioid delivers groundbreaking simulations of the electrophysiology of the human heart, allowing a novel approach in the exploration of causes of arrhythmia and sudden cardiac arrest as well as predictive drug interactions.

Future work includes expansion of the model to include the mechanics of the heart — this will add the simulation of pumping action to the beating heart.

Cardioid is available now for companies wishing to utilize the code for investigation of the physiological parameters currently accounted for in the model.

We also welcome the opportunity to further evolve the code and expand its capabilities based on specific need.

Please contact Dr. Fred Streitz to learn more about Cardioid and its potential application to your research and development needs.

For More Information

Supercomputer simulates heart record accuracy — NBC News
World's top supercomputer simulates the human heart — Popular Mechanics
Dr. Fred Streitz speaking at the 2012 Partners for Cure Conference — Video
Coding the human heart — IBM Research News
Venturing into the heart of high performance computing simulations — Science & Technology Review

 

Heart simulations over longer periods of time allow investigation of the full range of effects of particular drugs.

— Dave Richards

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