Geometry in Action

Molecular Modeling

Connections have been growing recently between the molecular modeling community and the computational geometry. Many questions in molecular modeling can be understood geometrically in terms of arrangements of spheres in three dimensions. Problems include computing properties of such arrangements such as their volume and topology, testing intersections and collisions between molecules, finding offset surfaces (related to questions of accessability of molecule subregions to solvents such as water), data structures for computing interatomic forces and performing molecular dynamics simulations, and computer graphics algorithms for rendering molecular models accurately and efficiently (taking advantage of their special geometric structure). Classical molecular modeling has dealt with biological molecules which generally have a tree-like structure, but applications to nanotechnology require dealing with more complicated diamond-like structures; it is unclear to what extent this affects the relevant algorithms.

Part of Geometry in Action, a collection of applications of computational geometry.
David Eppstein, Theory Group, ICS, UC Irvine.

Semi-automatically filtered from a common source file.