Unveiling the Virtual: Developing a Screening Platform for Drug Targets in the Endocannabinoid System

The Terascale Simulation Tools and Technologies (TSTT) center has recently broken new ground in the field of drug discovery by creating a virtual screening platform. This innovative project aims to identify potential drug targets within the endocannabinoid system, leveraging the power of terascale computing and the precision of advanced computational modeling.

Establishing the Screening Platform

The initial stages of the project involved understanding the structural complexity of the endocannabinoid system. Recognized for its significant role in maintaining homeostasis in the human body, this system presented a diverse array of potential drug targets. Drawing upon the TSTT center’s expertise in representing complex domains, a high-quality, hybrid mesh was designed to accurately capture these intricacies.

The Implementation

Building the Virtual Platform

The development of the virtual platform required the seamless integration of multiple mesh types and discretization strategies. By encapsulating research into software components with well-defined interfaces, interoperability was ensured, creating a “plug-and-play” environment. The platform was designed to run on terascale computers, with a strong focus on scalable algorithms and single processor performance optimization.

Data Input and Simulation

Feeding data into the platform posed a considerable challenge due to the diverse range of potential drug targets in the endocannabinoid system. This was addressed by collaborating with both SciDAC application researchers and other ISIC centers, thereby gaining access to their extensive biological and pharmacological data.

Validation and Refinement

Once the virtual screening platform was functional, it underwent extensive testing to validate its accuracy and reliability. Any detected issues were promptly addressed by optimizing the adaptive techniques to capture important solution features more accurately.

Challenges and Solutions

A project of this magnitude naturally faced challenges. The complexity of the endocannabinoid system demanded an advanced modeling approach, which was successfully tackled by employing high-order discretization techniques for improved numerical solutions.

Data availability and quality were also significant challenges. To overcome these, the TSTT center engaged in collaborative efforts with SciDAC researchers and other ISIC centers, utilizing their comprehensive databases and leveraging their extensive knowledge in the field.

Results and Impact

The virtual screening platform has shown remarkable efficacy in identifying potential drug targets within the endocannabinoid system. This achievement offers substantial benefits in drug discovery, potentially accelerating the development of new treatments for a wide range of conditions.

Moreover, the impact of the platform extends beyond the endocannabinoid system. The virtual screening platform serves as a testament to the potential of terascale computing in drug discovery, opening new possibilities for future research.


The creation of a virtual screening platform for identifying potential drug targets in the endocannabinoid system at the TSTT center marks a significant milestone in the intersection of high-performance computing and drug discovery. This project stands as a testament to the potential of leveraging computational power to solve complex biological problems. Looking ahead, we are excited about the prospects this platform offers for the future of personalized medicine and drug discovery.