Thursday, March 16, 2006

Supercomputer Builds a Virus

The model shows one million atoms over 50 billionths of a second.
Image osurce: Nature / University of Illinois / NCSA

Helen Pearson writes in Nature:

One of the world's most powerful supercomputers has conjured a fleeting moment in the life of a virus. The researchers say the simulation is the first to capture a whole biological organism in such intricate molecular detail.

The simulation pushes today's computing power to the limit. But it is only a first step. In future researchers hope that bigger, longer simulations will reveal details about how viruses invade cells and cause disease.

Klaus Schulten at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and his colleagues built a computer model of the satellite tobacco mosaic virus, a tiny spherical package of RNA.

More here.


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