NBLAST: a cluster variant of BLAST for NxN comparisons

M Dumontier, CWV Hogue*

*Corresponding author for this work

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15 Citations (Web of Science)


The BLAST algorithm compares biological sequences to one another in order to determine shared motifs and common ancestry. However, the comparison of all non-redundant (NR) sequences against all other NR sequences is a computationally intensive task. We developed NBLAST as a cluster computer implementation of the BLAST family of sequence comparison programs for the purpose of generating pre-computed BLAST alignments and neighbour lists of NR sequences.NBLAST performs the heuristic BLAST algorithm and generates an exhaustive database of alignments, but it only computes alignments (i.e. the upper triangle) of a possible N2 alignments, where N is the set of all sequences to be compared. A task-partitioning algorithm allows for cluster computing across all cluster nodes and the NBLAST master process produces a BLAST sequence alignment database and a list of sequence neighbours for each sequence record. The resulting sequence alignment and neighbour databases are used to serve the SeqHound query system through a C/C++ and PERL Application Programming Interface (API).NBLAST offers a local alternative to the NCBI's remote Entrez system for pre-computed BLAST alignments and neighbour queries. On our 216-processor 450 MHz PIII cluster, NBLAST requires ~24 hrs to compute neighbours for 850000 proteins currently in the non-redundant protein database.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

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