To create the world's largest human immunodeficiency virus evolutionary tree, US scientists are using the world's fastest supercomputer - IBM Roadrunner
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory are using an IBM Roadrunner supercomputer to study and map genetic sequences from HIV infected people, which will help them identify potential target areas for vaccine.
Physicist Tanmoy Bhattacharya and HIV researcher Bette Korber have taken samples from both chronic and acute HIV patients worldwide in order to analyse and study the similarities in the acute and chronic cases. This will give them more clarity in the areas where vaccines would be most powerful. 10,000 sequences from over 400 HIV-infected individuals were studied.
Bhattacharya said, "The petascale supercomputer gives us the capacity to look for similarities across whole populations of acute patients. At this scale we can begin to figure out the relationships between chronic and acute infections using statistics to determine the interconnecting branches - and it is these interconnections where a specially-designed vaccine might be most effective."