GAMUT: GPU accelerated microRNA analysis to uncover target genes through CUDA-miRanda

Shuang Wang, Jihoon Kim, Xiaoqian Jiang, Stefan F Brunner, Lucila Ohno-Machado
Division of Biomedical Informatics, University of California, San Diego, CA, 92093, USA
BMC Medical Genomics, 7(Suppl 1):S9, 2014


   title={GAMUT: GPU accelerated microRNA analysis to uncover target genes through CUDA-miRanda},

   author={Wang, Shuang and Kim, Jihoon and Jiang, Xiaoqian and Brunner, Stefan F and Ohno-Machado, Lucila},

   journal={BMC Medical Genomics},


   number={Suppl 1},



   publisher={BioMed Central Ltd}


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BACKGROUND: Non-coding sequences such as microRNAs have important roles in disease processes. Computational microRNA target identification (CMTI) is becoming increasingly important since traditional experimental methods for target identification pose many difficulties. These methods are time-consuming, costly, and often need guidance from computational methods to narrow down candidate genes anyway. However, most CMTI methods are computationally demanding, since they need to handle not only several million query microRNA and reference RNA pairs, but also several million nucleotide comparisons within each given pair. Thus, the need to perform microRNA identification at such large scale has increased the demand for parallel computing. METHODS: Although most CMTI programs (e.g., the miRanda algorithm) are based on a modified Smith-Waterman (SW) algorithm, the existing parallel SW implementations (e.g., CUDASW++ 2.0/3.0, SWIPE) are unable to meet this demand in CMTI tasks. We present CUDA-miRanda, a fast microRNA target identification algorithm that takes advantage of massively parallel computing on Graphics Processing Units (GPU) using NVIDIA’s Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA). CUDA-miRanda specifically focuses on the local alignment of short (i.e., <= 32 nucleotides) sequences against longer reference sequences (e.g., 20K nucleotides). Moreover, the proposed algorithm is able to report multiple alignments (up to 191 top scores) and the corresponding traceback sequences for any given (query sequence, reference sequence) pair. RESULTS: Speeds over 5.36 Giga Cell Updates Per Second (GCUPs) are achieved on a server with 4 NVIDIA Tesla M2090 GPUs. Compared to the original miRanda algorithm, which is evaluated on an Intel Xeon E5620@2.4 GHz CPU, the experimental results show up to 166 times performance gains in terms of execution time. In addition, we have verified that the exact same targets were predicted in both CUDA-miRanda and the original miRanda implementations through multiple test datasets. CONCLUSIONS: We offer a GPU-based alternative to high performance compute (HPC) that can be developed locally at a relatively small cost. The community of GPU developers in the biomedical research community, particularly for genome analysis, is still growing. With increasing shared resources, this community will be able to advance CMTI in a very significant manner. Our source code is available at https://sourceforge.net/projects/cudamiranda/.
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