A realistic computer simulation of protein folding requires a comprehensive account of interaction energetics, placing a substantial demand on processing power. This paper presents an improved computational framework for protein folding software package PROTOFOLD, that enables efficient computation of solvation free energy effects in addition to Coulombic and van der Waals interactions. Efficient data structures have been utilized to speed-up the sequential running times from O(n2) to O(n), n being the number of atoms. It turns out, however, that an accurate evaluation of molecular surface areas characterizing the solvation effects imposes a computational bottleneck to the entire simulation. Massive computational power offered by Graphics Processing Units (GPU) was exploited to develop a simple and efficient Single-Instruction Multiple-Thread (SIMT) algorithm for the latter step. The running times were monitored for different steps of the folding simulation for different molecular sizes. Significant performance improvements were observed, yielding promising results where numerous iterative runs are needed.

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