The supercomputer

It takes an extremely powerful computer to convert patient samples to usable data about our genes. That is why the engine of the Danish National Genome Center is a super-computer that can fit, load and process all the data being sampled from patients all over the country.

 The core of the new infrastructure service that all Danish hospitals are free to use is a supercomputer system. The Danish National Genome Center's aim is to ensure that all patients get the same opportunities for high-quality genetic analysis, regardless of where they live.
The Danish National Genome Center is a world-leading facility when it comes to handling huge amounts of diverse health data in the field of Personalised Medicine. The supercomputer system is designed to collect, contain, analyse, handle and combine extremely large and diverse sets of data like text from patient records, X-rays and genetic information. The supercomputer is so powerful that it is capable of uncovering patterns and connections that could give a much more precise picture of the patient, who is about to undergo treatment.


At the same time, the supercomputer system means that Danish health scientists get more opportunities to incorporate their patients' genetic data in long-term research that aims to improve treatments for the benefit of future patients. The system's capacity facilitates large-scale research projects within the field of Personalised Medicine. The research projects are expected to lead to new scientific breakthroughs that – in time – will help strengthen our ability to treat patients efficiently. For example, the new databases that are being built to make it possible to map the individual patient's genetic profile and use that knowledge actively in the specific treatment plan. It is safe to say that the initiative is a pioneering step that enables better and more coordinated interaction between patient and research, which is essential for the successful development of Personalised Medicine.

The supercomputer is a massive display of processing power. It has to be, since a complete digitised genetic profile for just one human being takes up between 100 and 200 GB. In relative terms, that is roughly the same as a pile of filled-out papers the height of the Round Tower in Copenhagen. The computer is extremely strong because it needs to go through enormous amounts of data to find unique patient genomes and genome variants that can either lead to disease or increased risk. Although our genetic material does not take up much room inside our cells, it does contain incredible amounts of information.


patientdata infografik

Genome data for just one individual patient takes up 100-200 GB. That is the roughly the same as a pile of filled-out papers the height of Copenhagen's Round Tower.

The supercomputer design balances data security and data performance. Safe handling of personal information has been a key immutable parameter throughout the design phase. The supercomputer lives up to the international standards for data protection, and patient data are kept and used with the most careful attention to safety. 

Facts about the supercomputer

  • The supercomputer has approx. 17,000 CPU cores. This means that the supercomputer has the same processing power as approximately 8000 PCs combined. When a CPU operates several cores, it allows the processor to run several operations at the same time.
  • The supercomputer's performance is approx. 1300 teraflops. A Teraflop is defined as the capacity of a data processor that can compute a trillion so-called floating point operations every second. So, with 1300 teraflops, the supercomputer can handle 1300 trillion floating points operations every second.
  • The supercomputer is based on "security by design".
  • The supercomputer takes up the space of three 18.5 metre containers.
  • The supercomputer is specifically designed for Life Science purposes and can handle large amounts of data safely, flexibly and accurately.
  • The supercomputer will not be affected by the Intel CPU vulnerabilities, Spectre and Meltdown.
  • The supercomputer is environmentally friendly. 70% of the computer's servers are cooled with water at 40 degrees Celsius, and the heat generated is used to heat the surrounding buildings.

Example of the data-technological journey



  • University hospitals
  • National center for whole-genome sequencing, east and west
  • National High Performance Computing and National Genome Center

When the patient has given consent to getting a comprehensive genetic analysis, the patient sample is sent from Aalborg University Hospital to the advanced national Whole Genome Sequencing Center's laboratory unit in Aarhus.


The patient's genetic data is transferred to the national High Performance Computing Center.


Healthcare professionals at the University Hospital get access to interpreting the patient's genetic data via the secure IT infrastructure in the national High Performance Computing Center. The doctor at the hospital where the patient is being treated receives the result of the analysis. The doctor then explains how the analysis can be used in the treatment to the patient.


The clinical report is hereafter a part of both the patient's digital record and the national knowledge databases. This will make it easier for doctors and medical professionals to turn knowledge into treatment locally for the benefit of the patient.