Homology sequence analysis using GPU acceleration
A number of problems in bioinformatics, systems biology and computational biology field require abstracting physical entities to mathematical or computational models. In such studies, the computational paradigms often involve algorithms that can be solved by the Central Processing Unit (CPU). Historically, those algorithms benefit from the advancements of computing power in the serial processing capabilities of individual CPU cores. However, the growth has slowed down over recent years, as scaling out CPU has been shown to be both cost-prohibitive and insecure. To overcome this problem, parallel computing approaches that employ the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) have gained attention as complementing or replacing traditional CPU approaches. The premise of this research is to investigate the applicability of various parallel computing platforms to several problems in the detection and analysis of homology in biological sequence. I hypothesize that by exploiting the sheer amount of computation power and sequencing data, it is possible to deduce information from raw sequences without supplying the underlying prior knowledge to come up with an answer. I have developed such tools to perform analysis at scales that are traditionally unattainable with general-purpose CPU platforms. I have developed a method to accelerate sequence alignment on the GPU, and I used the method to investigate whether the Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU) classification problem can be improved with such sheer amount of computational power. I have developed a method to accelerate pairwise k-mer comparison on the GPU, and I used the method to further develop PolyHomology, a framework to scaffold shared sequence motifs across large numbers of genomes to illuminate the structure of the regulatory network in yeasts. The results suggest that such approach to heterogeneous computing could help to answer questions in biology and is a viable path to new discoveries in the present and the future.
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