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Innovation is driven by brilliant minds combining ingenuity and technology to solve problems previously not considered possible. Using DDN technology, organizations are accelerating business results and scientific insights while pushing the boundaries of discovery. Recognizing those who've leveraged DDN innovation, the Pioneer Award celebrates users who are breaking through long-standing technical limits and accelerating time to results.


Dr Alf Waschmann

Dr. Alf Wachsmann
CIO, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) investigates basic biological concepts to understand disease mechanisms and to close the gap between basic biomedical and clinical research.

Dr. Alf Wachsmann's experience includes systems design and management at the German Electron Synchrotron Lab (DESY) Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC; now SLAC National Accelerator Lab), Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). Alf has used DDN systems on three continents: USA, Japan and Germany.

As CIO of Max Delbrück Center, Germany Alf along with a team were the first to test a SAP HANA cluster in the world. Based on the requirements of life sciences researchers at the center, his team used their experience in integrating existing decentralized computing resources to form a federated in-memory database system. This approach combined the advantages of cloud computing while storing and processing sensitive data on local hardware—a remarkable demonstration of efficient use of resources and provisioning of managed software. This testing has put Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in a better position to better understand the causes of disease at the molecular level, in order to better diagnose, treat and prevent them.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

Genomics is the language of life, and HudsonAlpha scientists decipher its code. Propelled by game-changing technology and a drive for innovation, their expertise impacts the quality of human, plant and animal life around the world. HudsonAlpha is helping save lives by accelerating genomic data analysis in order to solve some of the most pressing questions in cancer, childhood genetic disorders, neuropsychiatric disorders, and immune-mediated disease. To meet these challenges, HudsonAlpha leverages a unified architecture to meet their end-to-end data lifecycle needs, including the management of 4PB of annually generated data from their Illumina XTEN sequencer and downstream analysis using the Edico Genome DRAGEN card.

Pioneers Jim Hudson and Lonnie McMillian developed the concept for the HudsonAlpha in the early 2000’s to develop, maintain, and apply cutting-edge genomic technology across a wide spectrum of biology and biomedical research. Other notable innovators include Dr. Richard Myers, who leads the institute and Dr. Shawn Levy who pioneered cutting edge genomics processing. Dr. Howard Jacob recently joined HudsonAlpha to pioneer the integration of genomic into clinical settings. Kevin Behn, Lead Storage Architect, continues to innovate with new approaches for managing HudsonAlpha’s ever-expanding data requirements.

Steve Furmedge

Steve Furmedge
Director of Security Services, Public Transport Authority

The Public Transport Authority (PTA) is the government agency that oversees Western Australia’s public transit infrastructure. Chartered with serving more than two million people in the Perth metropolitan area as well as more than 240 towns across the State, the PTA connects people and places safely and securely. Steve Furmedge, a 30-year law enforcement professional, heads up security for the PTA and has influenced the way in which we monitor mass transit today.

Steve and the IT team at PTA recently deployed a massively scalable, state-of-the-art centralized repository for all CCTV footage for their security systems. The system provides a significant improvement to PTA’s counter-terrorism and crime-reduction efforts by enabling real-time monitoring of activity for mass transit and public transportation. These efforts helped contribute to a 97 percent rate of successful prosecution, reduced graffiti cleanup by 70 percent and prevented a large number of fraudulent complaints and litigations against PTA and staff. Steve's innovative and creative thinking helps create the safe infrastructure that continually maintains Perth's status as one of the top 10 livable cities in the world.