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Office of High Performance Computing and Communications

The Office of High Performance Computing and Communications (OHPCC) is the focal point for NLM’s and LHNCBC’s high performance computing and communications research and development activities. It conducts R&D in advanced computing and communications technologies and the application of these technologies to biomedical research and communications.


OHPCC’s history begins with the 1992 creation of the National Coordination Office for High Performance Computing and Communications (NCO/HPCC). The NCO was established to implement the requirements of the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-194), whose goal was and is to sustain and extend U.S. leadership in all advanced areas of computing, networking, software, and information technologies. The law’s requirements include coordinating the HPCC R&D efforts of what were then eight Federal science and technology research agencies – DARPA, DOE, EPA, NASA, NIST, NLM, NOAA, and NSF – and program and budget planning, implementation, and assessment.

Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, was appointed by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to serve as NCO Director concurrently with being NLM Director. His leadership was instrumental in establishing the NCO as a model for interagency HPCC R&D cooperation and coordination. He served as NCO Director from September 1992 to March 1995. The NCO moved to National Science Foundation space in Arlington, Virginia, in December 1995.

OHPCC was created in recognition of NLM’s need to continue to plan and conduct R&D in HPCC technologies applicable to biomedicine and health care, and to coordinate this work with the efforts of the HPCC Program and the NCO. To that end Dr. Lindberg established the NLM Office of High Performance Computing and Communications within the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications.


  • Model of head of VHP male dataset.

    The 3D Printing, Visualization, and Immersive Display project is studying how to represent, display, and present biomedical information that is inherently more than two-dimensional, in order to maximize user understanding and retention of the underlying knowledge.

  • BabelMeSH and PICO (Patient, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome) Linguist are multi-language tools for searching MEDLINE/PubMed. Thirteen languages, including character-based languages, are supported. Recent enhancements include a query using more than one language and retrieving citations in more than one language.

  • The Computational Photography Project for Pill Identification (C3PI) conducts computer vision research in text- and image-based search and retrieval through developing (1) the RxIMAGE database of pill images and the RxIMAGE API for search and retrieval from that database, and (2) the SPLIMAGE database and portal to help the pharmaceutical industry include pill images in public information.

  • Collaboration Technologies research is investigating how real-time interactive technologies – for example, videoconferencing – and information-sharing tools can help meet the need for collaboration in scientific research, the provision of telemedicine services, and distance education.

  • Antennae used to bring distance learning to an Alaska high school.

    Distance Learning and Education research is investigating how advanced communications technologies can be used to improve biomedical education.

  • Artist's conceptual image of how the 3D structures of glycoproteins are extracted from multiple 2D electron microscopy projections.

    The 3D informatics for High Resolution Electron Microscopy project is analyzing the life sciences at nanometer scales. Using high performance computing on data from both transmission electron microscopy and ion-abrasion scanning electron microscopy, investigators are resolving previously unknown structures for use in cancer research and investigations of infectious diseases.

  • Logo of the Insight Toolkit (ITK).

    The Insight Toolkit (ITK) project is developing a public, open-source library of leading-edge algorithms for the segmentation (image partitioning) and registration (image alignment) of high-dimensional biomedical image data.

  • Pubmed for Handhelds image including handheld devices, a stethoscope, and an open book.

    PubMed for Handhelds research brings medical information to the point of care via devices like smartphones. This includes developing algorithms and public-domain tools for searching by text message (askMEDLINE and txt2MEDLINE), applying clinical filters (PICO) and viewing summary abstracts (The Bottom Line and Consensus Abstracts) in MEDLINE/PubMed, and evaluating the use of these tools in Clinical Decision Support.

  • Remove Virtual Dialog System enables interviews with 16 leaders in medicine and related fields in the NLM Visitors Center.

    Remote Virtual Dialog System research and development, based on Interactive Drama's Conversim ®Virtual Conversation® System, will make the NLM “Dialogues in Science” series accessible anywhere by anyone who has access to an Internet Web browser and a microphone. The Dialogues, which simulate interviews with 16 prominent leaders in medicine and related fields, are currently available only on site at the NLM Visitors Center.

  • Provider examining patient via telemedicine.

    Through Telehealth and Telemedicine research, advanced communications technologies are enabling both lower cost and greater efficacy, quality, security, and usability for the Nation’s healthcare, health education, wellness, and health research systems.

  • Translational Science is a new field that develops new medical capabilities such as drugs, devices, and treatment options for patients, and then transitions those capabilities into medical practice as fast as is feasible. Steps in that transition can include clinical trials, clinical studies, and observational studies.

  • Composite display of cell slides from the virtual microscope.

    Virtual Microscope research is working to replace the examination of glass slides in medical education with Web-based tools to zoom, pan, and analyze virtual slides in a teaching archive; to add annotations; and to link to NLM's MEDLINE/PubMed database of biomedical literature. Two other names for his research are Virtual Slide and Whole Slide Imaging.

  • The Visible Human Project logo.

    The Visible Human Project® (VHP) is an NLM research project conducted since 1994 by the NLM/LHNCBC Office of High Performance Computing and Communications. VHP data sets are licensed to researchers, and research articles acknowledge their use.

    The NLM VHP Web site provides information about the project: