Entropy Measurements and Ball Cover Construction for Biological Sequences

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


As improving technology is making it easier to select or engineer DNA sequences that produce dangerous proteins, it is important to be able to predict whether a novel DNA sequence is potentially dangerous by determining its taxonomic identity and functional characteristics. These tasks can be facilitated by the ever increasing amounts of available biological data. Unfortunately, though, these growing databases can be difficult to take full advantage of due to the corresponding increase in computational and storage costs. Entropy scaling algorithms and data structures present an approach that can expedite this type of analysis by scaling with the amount of entropy contained in the database instead of scaling with the size of the database. Because sets of DNA and protein sequences are biologically meaningful instead of being random, they demonstrate some amount of structure instead of being purely random. As biological databases grow, taking advantage of this structure can be extremely beneficial. The entropy scaling sequence similarity search algorithm introduced here demonstrates this by accelerating the biological sequence search tools BLAST and DIAMOND. Tests of the implementation of this algorithm shows that while this approach can lead to improved query times, constructing the required entropy scaling indices is difficult and expensive. To improve performance and remove this bottleneck, I investigate several ideas for accelerating building indices that support entropy scaling searches. The results of these tests identify key tradeoffs and demonstrate that there is potential in using these techniques for sequence similarity searches.



Bioinformatics, Entropy Scaling, Sequence Search, BLAST