Category Archives: Cardiac Electrophysiology

Cardiac Electrophysiology

Quoted in another article on CardioSolv

The whole article is here.

The HPC service lets the small, five-employee company do the heavy lifting that would otherwise cost a fortune. “With what we could purchase out of pocket, we’d have to bootstrap very slowly, or look for VC [venture capital] funding,” said Dr. Brock Tice, the vice president of operations at Cardiosolv, a privately funded medical research firm. Instead, Tice uses a new HPC on-demand service from Penguin Computing called Penguin on Demand.

While Cardiosolv has its own small cluster on the premises for calculations, Tice estimates the resources he rents from Penguin would probably cost $500,000 to build, and other cloud options weren’t suitable.

“We can’t use [Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud] EC2, since there’s a lot of latency between the nodes,” he said.

Story on CardioSolv in The Register today

Here’s my two bits from the story:

Brock Tice is one of those scientists. As vp of operations at the Baltimore, Maryland-based CardioSolv, he works to model, yes, the heart – simulating its mechanical and electrical activity. And though he can run some simulations on Amazon’s cloud – or on individual local machines – more complex models require HPC. “We’re [sic] tried on Amazon and it just doesn’t scale,” he tells The Reg. “We can run on single EC2 instances, but if we need to scale up to a dog or human heart, it’s just impossible.

“The connections between Amazon’s machines are Gigabit Ethernet and they’re shared. If you fire up 10 machines and you want to run them like a cluster, some might be in the same rack, and others might be halfway across the data center, five or six switches away.”

You can find the full story here.

My PhD and What Comes Next

If you’ve been following my Twitter or Facebook accounts, you’ll already know that I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation this past Wednesday. I now (essentially, absent the completion of some clerical things) have my PhD from Johns Hopkins University.

One thing that is asked a lot of people graduating from anything is what they plan to do next. I have been waiting for some time to be able to answer that question, and now I can.

The lab of which I have been a member since late fall of 2002, the Trayanova lab is one of (if not the) the leading groups in the world when it comes to cardiac electrophysiology and mechanics research. I would guess that the lab as a whole has probably run an order of magnitude more simulations, at a minimum, than the next closest group. A lot of my time and effort as a graduate student went into improvement of the tools used for generating and running models, and I have nearly seven years of experience setting up, running, and analyzing simulations.

The lab does very interesting things, and cutting-edge research. Almost every new study is accompanied by tool and methodological development. However, there are a lot of practical applications that are never explored by the lab, because they don’t necessarily constitute scientific discovery of the kind valued in academia.

It takes a long time to train people to use simulation software developed in an academic research environment. It is extremely powerful, and has far more options available than any one user will ever use. This is acceptable for graduate students that will be spending years in the lab, and will often be digging in the guts of the code and adding their own features. It’s not acceptable for, say, industrial or academic wet-lab researchers that just want to run some simulations and figure something out.

That’s where CardioSolv comes in. CardioSolv, LLC, is a new cardiac simulation and services company. Its aim is to commercialize cardiac simulation, and make it easy for new users to rapidly produce scientifically valid and useful results. To that end, we are building a web interface that will by default handle most of the difficult choices for users, while still allowing them to specify detailed parameters if necessary.

My role in this company is Vice President of Operations. I’ll be managing the day-to-day operations of the company, interacting with customers, and guiding product development. My hope is that we can bring our technology and our discoveries out of academia, and into the drug and device development markets, with the ultimate goal of improving patients’ safety and quality of life.

Thesis Defense Announcement – Brock Tice

Just got the official email this morning on the bme-phd mailing list:

Brock M. Tice

“Insights from accurate modeling of structural and functional
heterogeneities in cardiac tissue”

Wednesday August 5th, 2009
Talbot Library, Traylor 709
(JHU SoM Campus)

Thesis Committee Members:
Dr. Natalia Trayanova, Dr. Leslie Tung, Dr. Roselle Abraham, Dr. Joseph
Greenstein, Dr. Eric Young, Dr. Brian O’Rourke (alternate)

Almost there!