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October 28, 2009

World’s Fastest Supercomputer Maps HIV Family Tree

In November 2008, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico activated Roadrunner, the world’s fastest supercomputer. While IBM and the Department of Energy built Roadrunner to simulate nuclear explosions, Popular Science reports that the computer has been used to create the largest HIV family tree ever built.

In a report released October 27, scientists revealed that they have used Roadrunner’s processing power to compare 10,000 HIV DNA sequences across 400 HIV-positive people. A single person may have 100,000 different versions of HIV in his or her body at one time, and scientists hope that learning how the virus mutates genetically could help develop an HIV vaccine.

According to another report released on the same day, Roadrunner has also simulated the Big Bang in an attempt to model the creation of dark matter in the universe.

Search: Supercomputer, Roadruner, DNA, family tree, IBM, Department of Energy

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