Beatbox: HPC environment for biophysically and anatomically realistic cardiac simulations

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the main cause of death in Europe, accounting for 48% of all deaths.

Cardiac arrhythmias, in which the electrical activity of the heart responsible for its pumping action is disturbed, form some of the most serious. Despite over a century's study, the circumstances from which such fatal cardiac arrhythmias arise are still poorly understood. Although several advancements have been made in linking genetic mutations to arrhythmogenic CVD, the mechanisms by which arrhythmias emerge remain elusive, partly because it is very difficult to accurately measure and monitor the heart. Computer simulations allow us to synthesise such phenomena for closer study.

The aim of this project was to develop Beatbox, a portable, extensible and efficient computer cardiac simulation environment, and apply it to a few selected research problems in computational cardiology. Beatbox was a collaboration between Applied Mathematics and Computer Science at Liverpool University, who led the project, the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester, and EPCC. EPCC provided the HPC and parallel computing expertise to optimise the parallel functionality of the existing Beatbox code and to parallelise new functionality as developed by the project partners.

For further information visit the Beatbox website.

EPCC blog post (June 2013)