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Immersive Out-of-Core Visualization with VMD

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made with VMD

Computer simulations of the biomolecular processes in human cells guide better understanding of health and disease as well as development of dietary supplements and pharmacological treatments. Such simulations are extremely demanding and, in fact, all too often still limited by technological feasibility. However, technological advances are being brought to bear on computer simulations in biomedicine through highly dedicated biomedical engineers, who have often speerheaded uses of new computer technologies such that they became available in biomedicine much sooner than in other fields. A case in point is solid state disk (SSD) technology that can serve as extremely fast and large computer memory. Conventional RAM (random access memory) is fast, but limited in size due to cost; the well known hard disks (HDs) can hold large data sets at an affordable price, but are slow. The new SSDs are in the middle ground, faster than HDs, slower than RAM, offering large data storage at an affordable price. Modern uses of SSDs in smart phones and tablets attest to the usefulness of SSDs. The biomolecular visualization and analysis software VMD in its next release (VMD 1.9.1) makes the power of SSDs as a huge, yet fast storage medium available to biomedical researchers. As reported, this will allow them to view and analyze through VMD on the fly Gigabytes-to-Terabytes of simulation data, that are being raked into a computer at the rate of up to 4 Gigabytes per second (one high definition video of a long movie per second!). For more on this and other revolutionary features of VMD 1.9.1 see our VMD web site.