Cianfrocco, M. A. & Leschziner, A. E. Low cost, high performance processing of single particle cryo-electron microscopy data in the cloud. Elife, 2015, 4
The advent of a new generation of electron microscopes and direct electron detectors has realized the potential of single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) as a technique to generate high-resolution structures. Calculating these structures requires high performance computing clusters, a resource that may be limiting to many likely cryo-EM users. To address this limitation and facilitate the spread of cryo-EM, we developed a publicly available 'off-the-shelf' computing environment on Amazon's elastic cloud computing infrastructure. This environment provides users with single particle cryo-EM software packages and the ability to create computing clusters with 16-480+ CPUs. We tested our computing environment using a publicly available 80S yeast ribosome dataset and estimate that laboratories could determine high-resolution cryo-EM structures for $50 to $1500 per structure within a timeframe comparable to local clusters. Our analysis shows that Amazon's cloud computing environment may offer a viable computing environment for cryo-EM.