H-BLAST: a fast protein sequence alignment toolkit on heterogeneous computers with GPUs

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The sequence alignment is a fundamental problem in bioinformatics. BLAST is a routinely used tool for this purpose with over 118 000 citations in the past two decades. As the size of bio-sequence databases grows exponentially, the computational speed of alignment softwares must be improved.


We develop the heterogeneous BLAST (H-BLAST), a fast parallel search tool for a heterogeneous computer that couples CPUs and GPUs, to accelerate BLASTX and BLASTP—basic tools of NCBI-BLAST. H-BLAST employs a locally decoupled seed-extension algorithm for better performance on GPUs, and offers a performance tuning mechanism for better efficiency among various CPUs and GPUs combinations. H-BLAST produces identical alignment results as NCBI-BLAST and its computational speed is much faster than that of NCBI-BLAST. Speedups achieved by H-BLAST over sequential NCBI-BLASTP (resp. NCBI-BLASTX) range mostly from 4 to 10 (resp. 5 to 7.2). With 2 CPU threads and 2 GPUs, H-BLAST can be faster than 16-threaded NCBI-BLASTX. Furthermore, H-BLAST is 1.5-4 times faster than GPU-BLAST.

Availability and Implementation:




Supplementary information:

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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