|Stable release||4.6.3 / 5 July 2013|
|Preview release||4.6.1 / 5 March 2013|
|Written in||C, C++, Assembly|
|Operating system||Solaris, Linux, OS X, Windows by Cygwin, any other Unix variety|
|Type||Molecular dynamics (simulation)|
|License||GNU General Public License for version < 4.6 and GNU Lesser General Public License for version >= 4.6|
GROMACS (GROningen MAchine for Chemical Simulations) is a molecular dynamics package primarily designed for simulations of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. It was originally developed in the Biophysical Chemistry department of University of Groningen, and is now maintained by contributors in universities and research centers across the world. GROMACS is one of the fastest and most popular software packages available, and can run on CPUs as well as GPUs. It is free, open source released under the GNU General Public License. Starting from version 4.6, GROMACS is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License.
The GROMACS project was originally started to construct a dedicated parallel computer system for molecular simulations, based on a ring architecture. The molecular dynamics specific routines were rewritten in the C programming language from the Fortran77-based program GROMOS, which had been developed in the same group.
GROMACS is extremely fast due to algorithmic and processor-specific optimization, typically running 3-10 times faster than many simulation programs. GROMACS is operated via the command-line, and can use files for input and output. GROMACS provides calculation progress and ETA feedback, a trajectory viewer, and an extensive library for trajectory analysis. In addition, support for different force fields makes GROMACS very flexible. It can be executed in parallel, using MPI or threads. GROMACS contains a script to convert molecular coordinates from a PDB file into the formats it uses internally. Once a configuration file for the simulation of several molecules (possibly including solvent) has been created, the actual simulation run (which can be time consuming) produces a trajectory file, describing the movements of the atoms over time. This trajectory file can then be analyzed or visualized with a number of supplied tools.
As of January 2010[update], GROMACS' source code contains approximately 400 alternative acronyms to "GROMACS" as jokes among the developers and biochemistry researchers. These include "Gromacs Runs On Most of All Computer Systems", "Gromacs Runs One Microsecond At Cannonball Speeds", "Good ROcking Metal Altar for Chronical Sinner", "Working on GRowing Old MAkes el Chrono Sweat", and "Great Red Owns Many ACres of Sand". They are randomly selected to possibly appear in GROMACS's output stream. In one instance, one of these acronyms caused offense.
Under a non-GPL license, GROMACS is widely used in the Folding@home distributed computing project for simulations of protein folding, where it the base code for the project's largest and most regularly used series of calculation cores. EvoGrid, a distributed computing project to evolve artificial life, also employs GROMACS.
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