Fashioning NAMD, a History of Risk and Reward: Klaus Schulten Reminisces
The freely available software code NAMD focuses on molecular dynamics simulations and is tailored for parallel computers. Although its emergence on the scene was circa 1995, its roots go back to 1987, when Klaus Schulten wagered all his grant money on two young physics students who promised to build him his own parallel supercomputer. This episode educated Schulten in the possibilities of using parallel computers in his own work, and he amassed a team of colleagues and students who created what NAMD is today. This is the backstory of NAMD and a scientist's turn to parallel computing, as recalled by Klaus Schulten. It is a history that encompasses instincts, hurdles and ultimately, personal risks.