In contrast to conventional CPU-based systems that inefficiently execute lines of software code to perform an algorithmic function, FPGAs implement algorithms as logic circuits, providing an output almost instantaneously. The logic circuits are replicated thousands of times, allowing for massively parallel computing, unlike CPUs that are limited to running only one task per core. FPGAs are fully reconfigurable, allowing customers to switch between functions and pipelines in seconds. Because of the processing power of FPGAs, DRAGEN can run multiple complex analysis algorithms to achieve the highest base calling accuracy.
By running on FPGAs, DRAGEN delivers industry-leading speed and accuracy. DRAGEN can process an entire human genome at 30x coverage in about 20 minutes, compared to over 20 hours using a traditional CPU-based system. In addition to its industry-leading speed, DRAGEN also has the highest accuracy of any variant caller, producing 5 of the top 6 scores in combined SNP and INDEL accuracy amongst entries catching all 50 injected variants in the 2017 PrecisionFDA Hidden Treasures Warm-Up Challenge.