IEEE Spectrum on genomic data compression

The September 2018 issue of the IEEE Spectrum magazine features an in-depth review of the current status of genomic data compression saying that “unless researchers solve the looming data storage problem, biomedical science could stagnate”. MPEG-G is mentioned to say that “Fortunately, work on a compression standard for genomic sequencing data has begun.”

The paper is co-authored by Stanford Professor Tsachy Weissman, whose former students and collaborators are now actively contributing to the process of MPEG-G standardization.

It is interesting to remark how the authors believe that efficient data compression could be the only way to save genomic medicine from stagnation due to the difficulty to handle the huge amount of data generated by genome sequencing machines. Data compression has always been relegated to the role of just another enabling technology playing a marginal part in the big picture of genomic data analysis and personalized medicine. According to the authors it seems that the design and implementation of efficient data representation (which includes, but it’s not limited to compression) is the main missing element to really enable large scale genomic medicine.

Read more on the IEEE Spectrum website.