Data analysis to improve the welfare of laboratory animals

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Data are enabling a silent revolution in many areas. While data analysis is acknowledged as a driver of the services market, its potential is still to be fully exploited. Techniplast has been a worldwide leader in the management of laboratory animals for many years. The core business of the company is an instrumented mouse cage, called an IVC (Individual Ventilated Cage) of which 3.5 million pieces have been sold around the globe. Despite its recognised global leadership, Techniplast has made major efforts over the last 4 years to develop an electronic sensor system that supplements the “standard” mouse cage. Techniplast sees this as very important for its future business. The analysis to exploit the potential of the data collected by the sensors can bring about a revolution in the sector using laboratory animals for research sector because it enables the provision of several new and unique benefits without affecting the current way of housing animals.

Due to the computational cost, this analysis is currently performed only on pre-processed (averaged) data, to lower the size of the data set. Moreover, only a reduced number of pre- processed data sets can be analysed for every facility. Scalable algorithms running on a High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure are needed to exploit the full potential of the data. The outcome of this experiment will be a software platform for the HPC-based analysis of animal welfare data. This platform will be able to provide its services in a fully automated way, including tasks pertinent to facility management. Data will be available on-demand via a web interface for exploration by involved researchers according to their research needs.