Biowulf High Performance Computing at the NIH
VMD logo

VMD is a molecular visualization program for displaying, animating, and analyzing large biomolecular systems using 3-D graphics and built-in scripting. It has powerful and comprehensive filtering and configuration capabilities. It is especially well-suited for analyzing NAMD results.


Important Notes

Running VMD in an interactive session on Biowulf
VMD is a graphics program, and therefore you need a graphics connection to Biowulf. We recommend installing NX (Installation Instructions).

Once you have NX installed, open a session to Biowulf. Confirm that the graphics connection is working by typing 'xclock' -- you should see a clock appear.

Please do not run VMD on the login node, which is shared by many users. Instead, start an interactive session and run the program. If you expect to be running calculations with VMD, you may want to request more than the default 2 CPUs. In that case, use the flag --cpus-per-task=# in your sinteractive command.

Sample VMD session: (user input in bold)

biowulf% sinteractive  --cpus-per-task=4 
salloc.exe: Pending job allocation 13212187
salloc.exe: job 13212187 queued and waiting for resources
salloc.exe: job 13212187 has been allocated resources
salloc.exe: Granted job allocation 13212187
salloc.exe: Waiting for resource configuration
salloc.exe: Nodes cn0851 are ready for job

[user@cn0851 ~]$ module load vmd
[+] Loading netpbm 10.86 on cn0851 
[+] Loading VMD v 1.9.3  ... 
       Using 4 CPUs

[user@cn0851 ~]$ vmd
/usr/local/apps/VMD/1.9.3/lib/vmd/vmd_LINUXAMD64: /lib64/ no version information available (required by /usr/local/apps/VMD/1.9.3/lib/vmd/vmd_LINUXAMD64)
Info) VMD for LINUXAMD64, version 1.9.3 (November 30, 2016)
Info) Email questions and bug reports to           
Info) Please include this reference in published work using VMD:   
Info)    Humphrey, W., Dalke, A. and Schulten, K., `VMD - Visual   
Info)    Molecular Dynamics', J. Molec. Graphics 1996, 14.1, 33-38.
Info) -------------------------------------------------------------
Info) Multithreading available, 4 CPUs detected.
Info)   CPU features: SSE2 AVX AVX2 FMA KNL:AVX-512F+CD+ER+PF 
Info) Free system memory: 271GB (71%)
Info) No CUDA accelerator devices available.
Warning) Detected X11 'Composite' extension: if incorrect display occurs
Warning) try disabling this X server option.  Most OpenGL drivers
Warning) disable stereoscopic display when 'Composite' is enabled.
Info) OpenGL renderer: llvmpipe (LLVM 5.0, 256 bits)
Info)   Full GLSL rendering mode is available.
Info)   Textures: 2-D (8192x8192), 3-D (512x512x512), Multitexture (8)
Info) Dynamically loaded 2 plugins in directory:
Info) /usr/local/apps/VMD/1.9.3/lib/vmd/plugins/LINUXAMD64/molfile

At this point you should see two VMD windows appear. VMD is menu-driven, so now you can use the VMD File menu to load a PDB or traajectory file.

Running VMD on your desktop using files on Biowulf

  1. Map your Biowulf /home or /data area onto your desktop computer using hpcdrive.
  2. Install VMD on your desktop computer. [VMD Downloads] [VMD Installation Guide]
  3. Now you can start up VMD on your desktop, then load a file from your Biowulf /data or /home area.