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CBESW: Sequence Alignment on the Playstation 3

Adrianto Wirawan*, Chee Keong Kwoh, Nim Tri Hieu and Bertil Schmidt

Author Affiliations

School of Computer Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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BMC Bioinformatics 2008, 9:377  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-377

Published: 17 September 2008



The exponential growth of available biological data has caused bioinformatics to be rapidly moving towards a data-intensive, computational science. As a result, the computational power needed by bioinformatics applications is growing exponentially as well. The recent emergence of accelerator technologies has made it possible to achieve an excellent improvement in execution time for many bioinformatics applications, compared to current general-purpose platforms. In this paper, we demonstrate how the PlayStation® 3, powered by the Cell Broadband Engine, can be used as a computational platform to accelerate the Smith-Waterman algorithm.


For large datasets, our implementation on the PlayStation® 3 provides a significant improvement in running time compared to other implementations such as SSEARCH, Striped Smith-Waterman and CUDA. Our implementation achieves a peak performance of up to 3,646 MCUPS.


The results from our experiments demonstrate that the PlayStation® 3 console can be used as an efficient low cost computational platform for high performance sequence alignment applications.