GPU-powered tools boost molecular visualization - just appeared in Briefings in Bioinformatics

Recent experimental and modeling advances provide a wealth of structural data on huge macromolecular assemblies available in public databases. Visual inspection of these huge structures and of their complex shapes remains an important way of unraveling some of their secrets, but requires new approaches to overcome performance limitations and lack of realism. Recent developments, in particular drawing benefit from the capabilities of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), herald the next generation of molecular visualization solutions addressing these issues.

In this paper, we highlight advances that help biologists visualize, understand and manipulate large and complex molecular systems, introducing concepts that remain little-known in the bioinformatics field. Furthermore, we provide a timely outlook on and compilation of currently available software packages to better apprehend and perceive the shape of such macromolecular assemblies. This enables the interested reader to get started in using such approaches right away.

Next generation molecular visualization is an important and little-known topic that may revolutionalize our way to interact with molecular structures. Beyond this immediate impact, many of the methods described could also benefit other branches of Bioinformatics, for instance visualization of complex networks such as in systems biology.

You can access the paper using doi:10.1093/bib/bbq089.