David E. Shaw

D. E. Shaw Research

Election Year: 2014
Primary Section: 29, Biophysics and Computational Biology
Secondary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type: Member


David E. Shaw serves as chief scientist of D. E. Shaw Research and as a senior research fellow at the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Columbia University. He received his PhD from Stanford University in 1980, served on the faculty of the Computer Science Department at Columbia until 1986, and founded the D. E. Shaw group in 1988. Since 2001, Dr. Shaw has devoted his time to hands-on research in the field of computational biochemistry. His lab is currently involved in the development of new algorithms and machine architectures for high-speed molecular dynamics simulations of biological macromolecules, and in the application of such simulations to basic scientific research and computer-aided drug design. Dr. Shaw was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology by President Clinton in 1994, and again by President Obama in 2009. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007, to the National Academy of Engineering in 2012, and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the development of massively parallel computer architectures and algorithms for high-speed biomolecular simulations, and the application of such simulations to basic scientific research and computer-aided drug design. In particular, my colleagues and I have developed a special-purpose supercomputer, called Anton, that executes atomic-level molecular dynamics simulations of proteins about two orders of magnitude faster than the previous state of the art. The machine has allowed us to observe the behavior of proteins on timescales at which a number of biologically important phenomena occur, including the process of "protein folding," the structural changes underlying molecular signaling within the cell, and the binding of drug molecules to their biological targets.

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