University of Illinois researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology’s theoretical and computational biophysics group are accelerating simulations of immature retroviruses using GPU technology on some of the world’s most powerful computers.
The researchers are examining ways to prevent their spread by locking the viral particles in this non-infectious stage before they morph and mature – and until recently, their tiny, irregular shape made study of the atomic-level structure of the particles difficult.
This led researchers to run simulations in some of the fastest, GPU-powered computers in the world, including Titan, a 27-petaflop machine with 18,688 Telsa GPUs, at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and GPU-accelerated Blue Waters supercomputer, at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois.
“Using GPUs, we get 2X acceleration, which means the turnaround time on calculations is two times faster,” said Boon Chong Goh, a physics grad student at the university who works on the project. “Instead of two months waiting for a result, we can get it in a month.”