VMD: Visual molecular dynamics

William Humphrey, Andrew Dalke, Klaus Schulten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

VMD is a molecular graphics program designed for the display and analysis of molecular assemblies, in particular biopolymers such as proteins and nucleic acids. VMD can simultaneously display any number of structures using a wide variety of rendering styles and coloring methods. Molecules are displayed as one or more 'representations,' in which each representation embodies a particular rendering method and coloring scheme for a selected subset of atoms. The atoms displayed in each representation are chosen using an extensive atom selection syntax, which includes Boolean operators and regular expressions. VMD provides a complete graphical user interface for program control, as well as a text interface using the Tcl embeddable parser to allow for complex scripts with variable substitution, control loops, and function calls. Full session logging is supported, which produces a VMD command script for later playback. High-resolution raster images of displayed molecules may be produced by generating input scripts for use by a number of photorealistic image-rendering applications. VMD has also been expressly designed with the ability to animate molecular dynamics (MD) simulation trajectories, imported either from files or from a direct connection to a running MD simulation. VMD is the visualization component of MDScope, a set of tools for interactive problem solving in structural biology, which also includes the parallel MD program NAMD, and the MDCOMM software used to connect the visualization and simulation programs. VMD is written in C++, using an object-oriented design; the program, including source code and extensive documentation, is freely available via anonymous ftp and through the World Wide Web.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Molecular Graphics
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

Keywords

  • Interactive visualization
  • Molecular dynamics visualization
  • Molecular modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics

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