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.
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.
This project has received funding from the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking EuroHPC (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.
Tuesday 31 August 2021
MICROCARD is covered in the latest edition of the ETP4HPC handbook of European High-Performance Computing Projects.
Friday 27 August 2021
One new job opening in Lugano on our jobs page.
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.
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