Oxford Nanopore Selects NVIDIA AGX for Personal DNA/RNA Sequencer

At GTC Europe in Munich, Germany, U.K. startup Oxford Nanopore Technologies just introduced the MiniIT hand-held AI supercomputer, powered by NVIDIA AGX, which delivers a low-cost, real-time DNA and RNA sequencer.

“MinIT is the perfect, powerful companion to MinION, the only portable real-time DNA sequencer,” said Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore. “As data streams faster from our sequencing devices, GPU technology like NVIDIA’s becomes central to preserving the real-time properties of our DNA sequencing technology.”

The system measures tiny ionic currents that pass through nanoscale holes called nanopores. It can detect signal changes when the DNA passes through these holes. Using recurrent neural networks and the onboard GPUs, the system performs the analysis of the DNA.

With MinIT on NVIDIA AGX, the startup is approaching a 10x performance improvement over previous versions of their systems. Its benchtop PromethION product is powered by NVIDIA Volta GPUs and can crank out a human genome for under $800.

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