Numerical modeling of cardiac electrophysiology at the cellular scale

MICROCARD is a European research project to build software that can simulate cardiac electrophysiology using whole-heart models with sub-cellular resolution, on future exascale supercomputers. It is funded by EuroHPC call Towards Extreme Scale Technologies and Applications. The project will start in April 2021

Summary

Cardiovascular diseases are the most frequent cause of death worldwide and half of these deaths are due to cardiac arrhythmia, disorders of the heart's electrical synchronization system. Computer models are essential to understand the behaviour of this complex system and its diseases. These models are already very sophisticated and widely used, but currently they are not powerful enough to take the heart's (2 billion!) individual cells into account. They must therefore assume that hundreds of cells are doing approximately the same thing. Due to this limitation, current models cannot represent the events in aging and structurally diseased hearts, in which reduced electrical coupling leads to large differences in behaviour between neigbouring cells, with possibly fatal consequences.

If we want to model the heart cell by cell, we face a mathematical problem that is 10,000 times larger, and also harder to solve. We will need larger supercomputers than those that exist today, and a lot of inventiveness to solve our problem efficiently on these future machines.

The purpose of the MICROCARD project is to develop software that can solve this problem on future exascale supercomputers. We will develop algorithms that are tailored to the specific mathematical problem, to the size of the computations, and to the particular design of these future computers, which will probably owe most of their compute power to ultra-parallel computing elements such as Graphics Processing Units. We will not content ourselves with a "proof of concept", but will use the code that we develop to solve real-life problems in cardiology. Therefore the project includes computer experts, mathematicians, and biomedical engineers, and collaborates with cardiologists and physiologists.

Funding

This project has received funding from the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 955495. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Norway, Switzerland.

EuroHPC projects are for one half funded by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, and for the other half by the national funding agencies of the project partners. All six national organizations have confirmed that they will fund their part of the project.

Logos of the funding organizations: ANR in France,
      The Research Council of Norway, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany,
      EuroHPC, the European Union, the Ministerio dello sviluppo economico in Italy, the Swiss
      Federation, and the Federale Forschungsgemeinschaft in Austria.

Latest news

Wednesday 14 April 2021

Today the German BMBF confirmed that the project will be co-funded from their side. The other five national funding agencies did so before, so now we are sure that the project is completely funded.


more news

Agenda

12 to 16 April 2021

2021 Exascale Computing Project Annual Meeting

19 April 2021 13:00 to 16:30 CET

MICROCARD kick-off meeting (online)


full agenda

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