The application of Hadoop in structural bioinformatics

Jamie Alnasir, Hugh Shanahan

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The paper reviews the use of the Hadoop platform in Structural Bioinformatics applications. Specifically we review a number of implementations using Hadoop of high-throughput analyses, e.g. ligand-protein docking and structural alignment, and their scalability in comparison with other batch schedulers and MPI. We find that these deployments for the most part use known executables called from MapReduce rather than rewriting the algorithms. The scalability exhibits a variable behaviour in comparison with other batch schedulers, particularly as direct comparisons on the same platform are generally not available. We note there is some evidence that MPI implementations scale better than Hadoop. A significant barrier to the use of the Hadoop ecosystem is the difficulty of the interface and configuration of a resource to use Hadoop. This will improve over time as interfaces to Hadoop e.g. Spark improve, usage of cloud platforms (e.g. Azure and AWS) increases and approaches such as the Workflow Definition Language are taken up.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbby106
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBriefings in Bioinformatics
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2018


  • tructural Bioinformatics
  • Hadoop
  • Cloud computing

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