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Scientific Programming
Volume 17 (2009), Issue 1-2, Pages 97-111

High Performance Protein Sequence Database Scanning on the Cell Broadband Engine

Adrianto Wirawan, Bertil Schmidt, Huiliang Zhang, and Chee Keong Kwoh

School of Computer Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The enormous growth of biological sequence databases has caused bioinformatics to be rapidly moving towards a data-intensive, computational science. As a result, the computational power needed by bioinformatics applications is growing rapidly as well. The recent emergence of low cost parallel multicore accelerator technologies has made it possible to reduce execution times of many bioinformatics applications. In this paper, we demonstrate how the Cell Broadband Engine can be used as a computational platform to accelerate two approaches for protein sequence database scanning: exhaustive and heuristic. We present efficient parallelization techniques for two representative algorithms: the dynamic programming based Smith–Waterman algorithm and the popular BLASTP heuristic. Their implementation on a Playstation®3 leads to significant runtime savings compared to corresponding sequential implementations.