Researchers with the international Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology consortium recently used the Roadrunner supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory to map the largest family tree of HIV ever produced.

Roadrunner, from Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp. is the world's fastest computer and can run at speeds exceeding 1 petaflop, or 1 quadrillion calculations per second. A quadrillion is 1 million billion, or the number 1 followed by 15 zeros. Now, researchers are using Roadrunner to analyze huge amounts of genetic sequences from HIV-infected patients, looking for possible vaccine target areas.

Genetic samples from more than 400 chronic and acute HIV patients have been used to create an evolutionary genetic family tree to look for similarities in acute versus chronic sequences. This may help identify areas where vaccines would be most effective.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, established the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology. More information is available at

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