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GPU accelerated adaptive banded event alignment for rapid comparative nanopore signal analysis

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Background: Nanopore sequencing enables portable, real-time sequencing applications, including point-of-care diagnostics and in-the-field genotyping. Achieving these outcomes requires efficient bioinformatic algorithms for the analysis of raw nanopore signal data. However, comparing raw nanopore signals to a biological reference sequence is a computationally complex task. The dynamic programming algorithm called Adaptive Banded Event Alignment (ABEA) is a crucial step in polishing sequencing data and identifying non-standard nucleotides, such as measuring DNA methylation. Here, we parallelise and optimise an implementation of the ABEA algorithm (termed f5c) to efficiently run on heterogeneous CPU-GPU architectures. Results: By optimising memory, computations and load balancing between CPU and GPU, we demonstrate how f5c can perform ∼3-5 × faster than an optimised version of the original CPU-only implementation of ABEA in the Nanopolish software package. We also show that f5c enables DNA methylation detection on-the-fly using an embedded System on Chip (SoC) equipped with GPUs. Conclusions: Our work not only demonstrates that complex genomics analyses can be performed on lightweight computing systems, but also benefits High-Performance Computing (HPC). The associated source code for f5c along with GPU optimised ABEA is available at




Gamaarachchi, H., Lam, C. W., Jayatilaka, G., Samarakoon, H., Simpson, J. T., Smith, M. A., & Parameswaran, S. (2020). GPU accelerated adaptive banded event alignment for rapid comparative nanopore signal analysis. BMC Bioinformatics, 21(1).

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