An anonymous reader writes: From a post over at endgaget.com reporting on an innovative hybrid of game technology and supercomputing found at earthtimes.org. PSC intern Jordan Soyke adapted the Wii motion-sensing controller (the WiiMote), as a controller for molecular dynamics (MD) simulations running on BigBen, PSC's 4,000 processor, 21-teraflop Cray XT3 supercomputing system.
The WiiMote interacts directly with MD simulation via a Linux computer altered to accept commands from the WiiMote". The "glue" for the WiiMD capability, which linked the interactive visualization in real-time on the Reno show floor with simulations on BigBen, is PDIO (Portals Direct I/O), software developed by PSC scientist Nathan Stone that routes simulation data from the XT3 in real time to remote users.
The resulting technology, called WiiMD, merges the WiiMote with MD, a powerful computational method to track forces among atoms in molecules as they move. The PSC team demonstrated this new technology with entertaining and insightful simulations. One demonstration involved using the WiiMote to unfold a small protein and to move a small sugar molecule through a protein channel.
"The ability to interact directly with these simulations, allows scientists and students to easily explore and get a feel for the system they are studying, making it possible to quickly uncover avenues of inquiry that they might not otherwise consider. WiiMD takes this mode of discovery off of the desktop and opens it up to classroom and group settings."