Interactive Molecular Dynamics: Scaling up to Large Systems
Reading group: Hatem Mnaouer presented "Interactive Molecular Dynamics: Scaling up to Large Systems" (ICCS'13) at 4A312 the 20/1/2023 at 10h30.
Combining molecular dynamics simulations with user interaction would have various applications in both education and re- search. By enabling interactivity the scientist will be able to visualize the experiment in real time and drive the simulation to a desired state more easily. However, interacting with systems of interesting size requires significant computing resources due to the complexity of the simulation. In this paper, we propose an approach to combine a classical parallel molecular dynamics simulator, Gromacs, to a 3D virtual reality environment allowing to steer the simulation through external user forces applied with an haptic device to a selection of atoms. We specifically focused on minimizing the intrusion in the simulator code, on efficient parallel data extraction and filtering to transfer only the necessary data to the visualization environment, and on a controlled asynchronism between various components to improve interactivity. We managed to steer molecular systems of 1.7 M atoms at about 25 Hz using 384 CPU cores. This framework allowed us to study a concrete scientific problem by testing one hypothesis of the transport of an iron complex from the exterior of the bacteria to the periplasmic space through the FepA membrane protein.