Visualization of Energy Conversion Processes in a Light Harvesting Organelle at Atomic Detail

February 11th, 2015

Abstract:

The cellular process responsible for providing energy for most life on Earth, namely, photosynthetic light-harvesting, requires the cooperation of hundreds of proteins across an organelle, involving length and time scales spanning several orders of magnitude over quantum and classical regimes. Simulation and visualization of this fundamental energy conversion process pose many unique methodological and computational challenges. We present, in an accompanying movie, light-harvesting in the photosynthetic apparatus found in purple bacteria, the so-called chromatophore. The movie is the culmination of three decades of modeling efforts, featuring the collaboration of theoretical, experimental, and computational scientists. We describe the techniques that were used to build, simulate, analyze, and visualize the structures shown in the movie, and we highlight cases where scientific needs spurred the development of new parallel algorithms that efficiently harness GPU accelerators and petascale computers.

Visualization of Energy Conversion Processes in a Light Harvesting Organelle at Atomic Detail. M. Sener, J. E. Stone, A. Barragan, A. Singharoy, I. Teo, K. L. Vandivort, B. Isralewitz, B. Liu, B. Goh, J. C. Phillips, L. F. Kourkoutis, C. N. Hunter, and K. Schulten. SC’14 Visualization and Data Analytics Showcase, 2014. Paper PDF