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BALL - biochemical algorithms library 1.3

Andreas Hildebrandt13*, Anna Katharina Dehof1, Alexander Rurainski1, Andreas Bertsch2, Marcel Schumann2, Nora C Toussaint2, Andreas Moll1, Daniel Stöckel1, Stefan Nickels13, Sabine C Mueller13, Hans-Peter Lenhof1 and Oliver Kohlbacher2

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Bioinformatics Saar, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany

2 Center for Bioinformatics Tübingen, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Germany

3 Intel Visual Computing Institute of Saarland University, Germany

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BMC Bioinformatics 2010, 11:531  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-531

Published: 25 October 2010



The Biochemical Algorithms Library (BALL) is a comprehensive rapid application development framework for structural bioinformatics. It provides an extensive C++ class library of data structures and algorithms for molecular modeling and structural bioinformatics. Using BALL as a programming toolbox does not only allow to greatly reduce application development times but also helps in ensuring stability and correctness by avoiding the error-prone reimplementation of complex algorithms and replacing them with calls into the library that has been well-tested by a large number of developers. In the ten years since its original publication, BALL has seen a substantial increase in functionality and numerous other improvements.


Here, we discuss BALL's current functionality and highlight the key additions and improvements: support for additional file formats, molecular edit-functionality, new molecular mechanics force fields, novel energy minimization techniques, docking algorithms, and support for cheminformatics.


BALL is available for all major operating systems, including Linux, Windows, and MacOS X. It is available free of charge under the Lesser GNU Public License (LPGL). Parts of the code are distributed under the GNU Public License (GPL). BALL is available as source code and binary packages from the project web site at webcite. Recently, it has been accepted into the debian project; integration into further distributions is currently pursued.