Do you need a supercomputer?

The university’s high-performance computing facility, GenomeDK, enables researchers to analyse and store large volumes of sensitive data drawn from all corners of bioinformatics and life science. A new certificate emphasises the high level of security.

[Translate to English:]
Supercomputers, or high-performance computing (HPC), play a crucial role in enabling research that requires the storage of large amounts of data and the computational power to process it. Senior consultant Dan Søndergaard has led the certification process of AU's supercomputer GernomeDK. Photo: Simon Byrial Fischel

In a basement in University Park are a number of large black cabinets which, together, contain the supercomputer GenomeDK.

GenomeDK was originally created in 2012 by Professor Anders Børglum and Professor Mikkel Schierup, to make it possible to analyse thousands of human genomes and correlate them with other types of data. Today, however, GenomeDK supplies calculation power, storage and software to manage projects within all kinds of projects in research, medical treatment and business.

Now, GenomeDK is the first unit at Aarhus University to achieve a security certification in the internationally recognised ISO 27001 standard. This means that researchers can safely store and process even the most sensitive types of data on GenomeDK, says senior consultant Dan Søndergaard, who led the certification process.

The new certificate will also facilitate the work of obtaining data from, for example, data-responsible authorities, for analysis on the supercomputer, he assesses.

Good to know the process

At the same time, many more units at the university will be working on the local implementation of management systems and the annual schedule for information security, predicts Thomas Kaaber, head of AU’s Information Security.

“The threat level is enormous when it comes to cyber-criminality and cyber-espionage towards research, education and partnerships. So the requirements towards the university’s documented protection of information assets and data are rising,” he says.

This applies, amongst other things, to the requirements from the authorities and the university’s partners.

“At the university, we have undertaken work with NIS and GDPR, and most recently the EU has adopted the NIS2 directive, which is designed to protect critical services for society against cyber threats through stricter requirements towards cyber security and information security. As a sector, education and research is also covered by the NIS2 directive,” says Thomas Kaaber.

He is thus in no doubt that the security certification of GenomeDK will benefit the entire university.

“Units that are now or will in future embark on ISO 27001 certification can benefit greatly from the knowledge acquired in the process,” he says, and emphasises that the Information Security Department is always ready to provide help and guidance.

Vice dean for research Hans Erik Bøtker is thrilled that Dan Søndergaard and the rest of the team have succeeded in getting the certification.

"I know they worked hard for it. This has resulted in a recognition, which emphasizes that GenomeDK is in the international super league," he says.


Can you use GenomeDK?

  • GenomeDK is a high-performance computer facility operated by the Aarhus Genome Centre – but the large amount of computer power is used for much more than gene analysis, including machine learning, molecular dynamics, research into registered data and simulations in physics and chemistry.
  • More than 600 researchers, students and companies from all over Denmark use GenomeDK for data analysis.
  • The facility is run in a collaboration between the Faculty of Health, the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Central Denmark Region.
  • GenomeDK currently stores more than 10 petabytes of data (1 PB = 1000 TB) and can make 4500 calculation cores available. The system is being expanded on an ongoing basis, with several major expansions planned for 2023.
  • If this sounds like something that could be relevant to your research, you can read more at


Fact box: What is ISO 27001?

  • ISO 27001 is an international standard for the management of information security. The standard was originally a joint publication of the International Standardisation Organisation and the International Electrotechnical Commission.
  • An ISO 27001 certification is a guarantee that the information security management system (ISMS), and information security processes that an organisation uses are of the highest quality.



System Administrator Dan Ariel Søndergaard
Aarhus University, Department of Biomedicine
Tel.: +45 9352 2633