PCAViz: An Open-Source Python/JavaScript Toolkit for Visualizing Molecular Dynamics Simulations in the Web Browser

J Chem Inf Model. 2019 Oct 28;59(10):4087-4092. doi: 10.1021/acs.jcim.9b00703. Epub 2019 Oct 16.


Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations reveal molecular motions at atomic resolution. Recent advances in high-performance computing now enable microsecond-long simulations capable of sampling a wide range of biologically relevant events. But the disk space required to store an MD trajectory increases with simulation length and system size, complicating collaborative sharing and visualization. To overcome these limitations, we created PCAViz, an open-source toolkit for sharing and visualizing MD trajectories via the web browser. PCAViz includes two components: the PCAViz Compressor, which compresses and saves simulation data; and the PCAViz Interpreter, which decompresses the data in users' browsers and feeds it to any of several browser-based molecular-visualization libraries (e.g., 3Dmol.js, NGL Viewer, etc.). An easy-to-install WordPress plugin enables "plug-and-play" trajectory visualization. PCAViz will appeal to a broad audience of researchers and educators. The source code is available at http://durrantlab.com/pcaviz/ , and the WordPress plugin is available via the official WordPress Plugin Directory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Models, Chemical*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Software*
  • Web Browser*