Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have achieved a major breakthrough in the battle to fight the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), using Nvidia Tesla GPU accelerators.
Featured on the cover of the latest issue of Nature, a new paper details how UIUC researchers collaborating with researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have, for the first time, determined the precise chemical structure of the HIV ‘capsid’, a protein shell that protects the virus’s genetic material and is a key to its virulence. Understanding this structure may hold the key to the development of new and more effective anti-retroviral drugs.
UIUC researchers uncovered detail about the capsid structure by running the first all-atom simulation of HIV on the Blue Waters Supercomputer, based at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Powered by 3,000 Nvidia Tesla K20X GPU accelerators, the Cray XK7 supercomputer gave researchers the computational performance to run the largest simulation ever published, involving 64 million atoms.
'It would have been very difficult to run a simulation of this size without the power of GPU-accelerated supercomputing in the Blue Waters system,’ said Klaus Schulten, professor of physics at the University of Illinois. ‘We started using GPU accelerators more than five years ago, and GPUs have fundamentally accelerated the pace of our research.’