Why Autodesk is all-in on the Genome Project-write (HGP-write)

By Jeff Kowalski, chief technology officer, Autodesk

Today, Autodesk joined a group of leading scientific researchers in announcing a project aimed at reducing the costs of engineering and testing large genomes, including the human genome. This is huge news — for science, for human curiosity, for mankind.

Knowledge gained from this project has the potential to fundamentally change the way we analyze, diagnose and treat a vast range of human health conditions and ailments.

Some of the world’s leading biologists, chemists, computational biologists, engineers, social scientists and bioethicists have enlisted to drive this groundbreaking effort.

But why has Autodesk — a maker of 3D design software for architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and media and entertainment — signed up to collaborate on the project?

Autodesk is invested in the future of making things. Living things are very complex. It’s not just big data, it’s insanely big data. Simply to organize the biological information takes state of the art computing. Understanding and synthesizing a genome is even harder.

Software tools are going to be essential, even for the design of the simplest cell.

Autodesk is committed to contributing its vision, support, software expertise and experience to ensure that HGP-write is a successful leap for humanity. We have also made a gift of $250,000 to help organize this effort and get the project off the ground.

HGP-write is just the sort of potentially world-changing endeavor that Autodesk is proud to stand behind.

For the past few years, the Autodesk Bio/Nano Research group has been focused on making the design of micro-scale things and living things easier. With an aim to explore and facilitate design opportunities enabled by synthetic biology and nanotechnology, the group collaborates with researchers around the world to anticipate the paradigms and tools needed to understand and exploit the intersection of design with life and materials sciences.

HGP-write is just the sort of potentially world-changing endeavor that Autodesk is proud to stand behind. As a company, our mission is to help imagine, design and create a better world. The technologies that will be advanced because of this project — and the resulting improvements in human health — will help make that vision reality.

Jeff Kowalski is responsible for shaping 3D design and engineering software leader Autodesk’s long-term technology vision, as well as driving innovation across the company. He and his team focus on research and development and strategy, turning emerging technologies into products and approaches that can help Autodesk’s customers.