Cummings Receives NVIDIA Academic Hardware Grant

Apr 04, 2022

Michael Cummings, a professor of biology with an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), recently received an NVIDIA Academic Hardware Grant to assist in the development of software that provides a rapid analysis of biological sequence data.

The grant is part of NVIDIA’s efforts to advance education and research by enabling groundbreaking, innovative, and unique academic research projects with world-class computing resources.

Cummings plans to use the NVIDIA hardware in the continued development of open-source software known as BEAGLE (Broad-platform Evolutionary Analysis General Likelihood Evaluator).

BEAGLE is an essential component in the software workflow of many scientists studying the evolutionary history of organisms, including the viruses that cause AIDS, influenza, Ebola, and now COVID-19. With the ability of high-throughput tools like BEAGLE to produce results quickly, researchers are helping public health agencies react to health threats, Cummings says.

He adds that the new hardware will allow for the development of new algorithms for larger data sets and more complex models.

“I am thankful to have current state-of-the-art hardware for students and other personnel to use in their research,” Cummings says. “As a mentor it is important that my students get experience with the best current hardware where it benefits their research and training. As a researcher, it is necessary to have the best current hardware to develop software and perform analyses at the limits of what is possible.”

Cummings, who is director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, was previously awarded a NVIDIA Global Impact Award to support his lab’s work on BEAGLE.

—Story by Melissa Brachfeld