Architectural Refactoring for Fast and Modular Bioinformatics Sequence Search
MetadataShow full item record
Bioinformaticists use the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) to characterize an unknown sequence by comparing it against a database of known sequences, thus detecting evolutionary relationships and biological properties. mpiBLAST is a widely-used, high-performance, open-source parallelization of BLAST that runs on a computer cluster delivering super-linear speedups. However, the Achilles heel of mpiBLAST is its lack of modularity, adversely affecting maintainability and extensibility; an effective architectural refactoring will benefit both users and developers. This paper describes our experiences in the architectural refactoring of mpiBLAST into a modular, high-performance software package. Our evaluation of five component-oriented designs culminated in a design that enables modularity while retaining high-performance. Furthermore, we achieved this refactoring effectively and efficiently using eXtreme Programming techniques. These experiences will be of value to software engineers faced with the challenge of creating maintainable and extensible, high-performance, bioinformatics software.