Enspara: Modeling molecular ensembles with scalable data structures and parallel computing

J. R. Porter, M. I. Zimmerman, G. R. Bowman

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22 Scopus citations


Markov state models (MSMs) are quantitative models of protein dynamics that are useful for uncovering the structural fluctuations that proteins undergo, as well as the mechanisms of these conformational changes. Given the enormity of conformational space, there has been ongoing interest in identifying a small number of states that capture the essential features of a protein. Generally, this is achieved by making assumptions about the properties of relevant features - for example, that the most important features are those that change slowly. An alternative strategy is to keep as many degrees of freedom as possible and subsequently learn from the model which of the features are most important. In these larger models, however, traditional approaches quickly become computationally intractable. In this paper, we present enspara, a library for working with MSMs that provides several novel algorithms and specialized data structures that dramatically improve the scalability of traditional MSM methods. This includes ragged arrays for minimizing memory requirements, message passing interface-parallelized implementations of compute-intensive operations, and a flexible framework for model construction and analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044108
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 28 2019


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