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N-body simulations present some of the most interesting challenges in the area of massively parallel computing, especially when the object is to improve the time to solution for a fixed-size problem. The Blue Matter molecular simulation framework was developed specifically to address these challenges, to explore programming models for massively parallel machine architectures in a concrete context, and to support the scientific goals of the IBM Blue Gene® Project. This paper reviews the key issues involved in achieving ultrastrong scaling of methodologically correct biomolecular simulations, particularly the treatment of the long-range electrostatic forces present in simulations of proteins in water and membranes. Blue Matter computes these forces using the particle-particle particle-mesh Ewald (P3ME) method, which breaks the problem up into two pieces, one that requires the use of three-dimensional fast Fourier transforms with global data dependencies and another that involves computing interactions between pairs of particles within a cutoff distance. We summarize our exploration of the parallel decompositions used to compute these finite-ranged interactions, describe some of the implementation details involved in these decompositions, and present the evolution of strong-scaling performance achieved over the course of this exploration, along with evidence for the quality of simulation achieved.
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