Parallel methods for short read assembly

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Jackson, Benjamin
Major Professor
Srinivas Aluru
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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) contains two focuses. The focus on Electrical Engineering teaches students in the fields of control systems, electromagnetics and non-destructive evaluation, microelectronics, electric power & energy systems, and the like. The Computer Engineering focus teaches in the fields of software systems, embedded systems, networking, information security, computer architecture, etc.

The Department of Electrical Engineering was formed in 1909 from the division of the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. In 1985 its name changed to Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In 1995 it became the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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  • Department of Electrical Engineering (1909-1985)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (1985-1995)

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This work is on the parallel de novo assembly of genomic sequences from short sequence reads. With short reads eliminating the reliability of read overlaps in predicting genomic co-location, a revival of graph-based methods has underpinned the development of short-read assemblers. While these methods predate short read technology, their reach has not extended significantly beyond bacterial genomes due to the memory resources required in their use. These memory limitations are exacerbated by the high coverage needed to compensate for shorter read lengths. As a result, prior to our work, short-read de novo assembly had been demonstrated on relatively small genome sizes with a few million bases. In our work, we advance the field of short sequence assembly in a number of ways. First, we extend models and ideas proposed and tested with small genomes on serial machines to large-scale distributed memory parallel machines. Second, we present ideas for assembly that are especially suited to the reconstruction of very large genomes on these machines. Additionally, we present the first assembler that specifically takes advantage a variable number of fragment sizes or insert lengths concurrently when making assembly decisions, while still working well for data with one insertion length.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009