SBGrid History:

2000: SBGrid begins

Structural biologist Piotr Sliz sees an opportunity to streamline the installation and maintenance of a modest collection of X-ray crystallography applications running on dozens of SGI IRIX workstations in the structural biology labs of Stephen Harrison and the late Don Wiley at Harvard University.

2002: SBGrid expands

When the Harrison lab relocates to Harvard Medical School, other structural biology labs at HMS learn about SBGrid and want to take advantage of its tools and techniques. Soon SBGrid is supporting software and high-performance computing (HPC) for Thomas Walz’s EM group, James Chou’s NMR group and laboratories at Yale and Rice Universities.

2004: Support for OSX introduced.

A handful of structural biologists request Macintosh support for an extensive subset of structural biology applications, prompting SBGrid to re-compile the applications under OSX. Today approximately 50 percent of consortium members use Macs for structure determination and the majority of structural biology applications are fully supported under Snow Leopard and Lion.

2007: NSF Research Coordination Network Established.

In an effort to support more computationally demanding applications, SBGrid establishes a Virtual Organization within Open Science Grid. In the following years we deploy a grid computing portal and by 2011 we become one of the top users (outside of high-energy physics users) of the OSG (we utilized 5,000,000 CPU hours within last 12 months). Specialized workflows to support molecular replacement and low resolution refinement are available to all members of structural biology community.

2008: SBGrid Computing School.

SBGrid holds its first ever computing school in Boston in May 2008, attracting approximately 300 participants. The School incorporates three parallel sessions: scientific programming with Python; molecular visualization with Maya; and OSX programming. SBGrid holds subsequent schools in Boston (2009) and Heidelberg (2010), in partnership with EMBO laboratory in Grenoble, France.

2009: SBGrid Formalizes Charter

The 70 laboratories now supported by SBGrid unite to form the SBGrid Consortium. SBGrid also establishes itself as an HMS NIH-complaint Service Center. The Center develops an end-user license agreement (EULA) in cooperation with the Harvard University Office of Technology Development (OTD) to formalize its relationships with Consortium laboratories.

2009: Pharmaceutical Companies and Synchrotron Beamlines Join SBGrid.

Structural biology laboratories at Genzyme join the consortium. They are supported with a subset of applications that are suitable for installation in for-profit laboratories. Laboratories at Novartis and Biogen join soon after and the pharmaceutical groups gain an official seat on the SBGrid advisory board.Synchrotron beamlines may access all SBGrid applications.

2011: Further Expansion and Closer Relationship with Open Science Grid.

SBGrid hosts the Open Science Grid all-hands meeting at Harvard Medical School. The Consortium grows to support 166 laboratories located mainly in the US, but also including research groups from Austria, Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, France, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland and Taiwan. A new website featuring SBGrid Tales is introduced. SBGrid now supports 230 applications.

2013: Continued Expansion, Increased Educational Opportunities and First Paper!

Membership growth continues at about 28% per year, and the webinar program which we initially rolled out in 2012 gains steam as we stream and record more than two dozen developer talks and tutorials on structural biology software tools. A multi-year effort finally results in a paper describing the project published in eLIFE.

SBGrid Today

SBGrid currently has more than 245 members labs around the world and supports more than 270 scientific software applications.