Human Cell Atlas

Data Coordination

These ideas began with an initial proposal by members of EBI, Sanger, and the Broad Institute, and evolved through several discussions at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that also included members from CZI and UCSC. A public Google doc version is available at [link] and is open for comments. 

A project of this scale demands a new approach to data coordination.

A wide variety of data must be organized and standardized across a large number researchers. The different components of the architecture — how the data is stored, how it is analyzed, how it is consumed — must be built in a modular fashion, rather than as one monolithic system, to ensure that it can evolve over time. To maximize their use, the data must be open and easily accessible to all researchers, and those researchers should have maximal oppurtunity to innovate. 

An effort is underway to design a modern, cloud-based, modular architecture for organizing and sharing data for the Human Cell Atlas. The key components are detailed below.

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    Sequencing data


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    Overall Architecture

    Key components for a data architecture, including [1] a data ingestion service, [2] a synchronized data store with multiple cloud replicas [3] a collection of secondary analysis pipelines for basic data processing and [4] a collection of tertiary portals for analyses, visualizations, and rich forms of data access.

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    Data Ingestion

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    Synchronized Data Store

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    Secondary Analysis

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    Tertiary Portals

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    Quality Checking


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