Irregular alignment of arbitrarily long DNA sequences on GPU

 Esteban Perez-Wohlfeil, Oswaldo Trelles, Nicolás Guil

The Journal of Supercomputing, 2022

The use of Graphics Processing Units to accelerate computational applications is increasingly being adopted due to its affordability, flexibility and performance. However, achieving top performance comes at the price of restricted data-parallelism models. In the case of sequence alignment, most GPU-based approaches focus on accelerating the Smith-Waterman dynamic programming algorithm due to its regularity. Nevertheless, because of its quadratic complexity, it becomes impractical when comparing long sequences, and therefore heuristic methods are required to reduce the search space. We present GPUGECKO, a CUDA implementation for the sequential, seed-and-extend sequence-comparison algorithm, GECKO. Our proposal includes optimized kernels based on collective operations capable of producing arbitrarily long alignments while dealing with heterogeneous and unpredictable load. Contrary to other state-of-the-art methods, GPUGECKO employs a batching mechanism that prevents memory exhaustion by not requiring to fit all alignments at once into the device memory, therefore enabling to run massive comparisons exhaustively with improved sensitivity while also providing up to 6x average speedup w.r.t. the CUDA acceleration of BLASTN.