Anton 2

Anton is a special purpose supercomputer for biomolecular simulation designed and constructed by D. E. Shaw Research (DESRES). PSC’s current system is known as Anton 2 and is a successor to the original Anton machine hosted here.

Anton 2, the next-generation Anton supercomputer, is a 128 node system, made available without cost by DESRES for non-commercial research use by US universities and other not-for-profit institutions, and is hosted by PSC with support from the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences. It replaced the original Anton system in the Fall of 2016.

Anton systems were designed to dramatically increase the speed of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations compared to available state-of-the-art systems, allowing biomedical researchers to understand the motions and interactions of proteins and other biologically important molecules over much longer time periods than was previously accessible to computational study. The MD research community is using the Anton 2 machine at PSC to investigate important biological phenomena that due to their intrinsically long time scales have been outside the reach of even the most powerful general-purpose scientific computers. Application areas include biomolecular energy transformation, ion channel selectivity and gating, drug interactions with proteins and nucleic acids, protein folding and protein-membrane signaling.


Anton 2 is allocated annually via a Request for Proposal with proposals reviewed by a committee convened by the National Research Council at the National Academies.

To qualify for an allocation on Anton 2, the principal investigator must be a faculty or staff member at a US academic or non-profit research institution.
View the latest RFP

The application period is currently closed, but watch for the next opportunity in the spring.

Preparing a proposal

Two webinars, presented by PSC and D.E. Shaw, provide useful information for preparing your proposal:

How to Write a Successful Anton 2 Proposal   View Presentation      View slides

Enhanced Sampling Techniques on Anton 2   View Presentation      View slides

Anton workshops

A workshop covering all aspects of running MD simulations on Anton 2 is presented each fall. It is offered by invitation only to the most recent allocations awardees.

View the agenda for the most recent workshop.

Using Anton 2

Anton 2 documentation and instructions are found on the Anton Wiki. This wiki can be accessed with your PSC username/password credentials. If you forget your password, you can reset it using the following link:

The preferred way of communicating with PSC support staff and with other users who share their experiences is through the Anton forum on the wiki. Please sign up here:

If you experience difficulties after registering, please check the Anton Forum section of the wiki to ensure your issue has not been addressed before. There is a text file to make it easier to search, and sections for frequently asked questions and troubleshooting tips. If your problem hasn’t been addressed already, please feel free to email for help.

PIs and group members must submit a signed End User Agreement before accounts for Anton 2 or access to the Anton 2 workshop can be granted.

Anton End User Agreement

All users who are awarded time on Anton 2 must complete the Anton End User Agreement (EUA) acknowledging that they have read, understood, and agreed to their responsibilities as an Anton 2 user. Once it is signed, return the EUA to

Acknowledgement in Publications

Please use the following paragraph (or similar) to cite your work conducted on Anton. Proper acknowledgment is critical for our ability to solicit continued funding for the project.

Acknowledgement for Anton 2

Anton 2 computer time was provided by the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) through Grant R01GM116961 from the National Institutes of Health. The Anton 2 machine at PSC was generously made available by D.E. Shaw Research.

The proper citation for Anton 2 is:

Shaw, David E., J.P. Grossman, Joseph A. Bank, Brannon Batson, J. Adam Butts, Jack C. Chao, Martin M. Deneroff, et al. “Anton 2: Raising the Bar for Performance and Programmability in a Special-Purpose Molecular Dynamics Supercomputer,” 41–53. IEEE, 2014. doi:10.1109/SC.2014.9.

Acknowledgement for Anton 1

Anton computer time was provided by the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) through Grant R01GM116961 from the National Institutes of Health. The Anton machine at PSC was generously made available by D.E. Shaw Research.

The proper citation for the Anton machine is:

Millisecond-Scale Molecular Dynamics Simulations on Anton, D. E. Shaw et al., Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Conference on Supercomputing (SC09), Portland, Oregon (2009).


Anton in Action

Learn about some of the groundbreaking research Anton 1 and Anton 2 have enabled over the years.

Project Summaries 

Check back soon for a sampling of project summaries from Anton 1 research.


View publications enabled by research that made use of Anton 1 or Anton 2 at PSC.

Anton 2 Sims Suggest How Fish Oil Health Benefits Start at Cell Membrane

Molecular simulations coupled with AI analysis reveal how omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may regulate the size of membrane “rafts”

Anton 2 Simulations Explain Mechanism for Loading DNA into Virus

Two-phase Motor Packages DNA into Viral Capsids, May Offer Drug Target

Anton 2 Operational

Anton 2, a specialized supercomputer developed by D. E. Shaw Research that simulates the motions of biomolecules, has replaced the original Anton 1 system previously at PSC. The new machine, operationally supported through a grant from the National Institutes of Health, enables life scientists to simulate much larger biomolecules for longer timescales than was previously feasible.

Anton 2 Will Increase Speed, Size of Molecular Simulations

Anton 2 Supercomputer at PSC Will Increase Speed and Size of Molecular Simulations Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 A $1.8-million National Institutes of Health grant to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) will make a next-generation Anton 2 supercomputer developed by...

Protein Research Leaps Forward with Anton at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

Protein Research Leaps Forward with Anton at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Special-purpose supercomputer's stay is extended, with new round of time allocations PITTSBURGH, July 21, 2011 — Using a special-purpose supercomputer for biomolecular simulation, U.S....

Research Highlights

Here are a few highlights of the research enabled by Anton 1 and Anton 2:

Protein dehydration during folding. The team combined 110 μs Anton 2 MD simulations with rapid pressure-drop experiments to study how water gets out of a protein as it folds. Prigozhin, Maxim B., Yi Zhang, Klaus Schulten, Martin Gruebele, and Taras V. Pogorelov PNAS, 2019.

Molecular mechanisms of cataract formation – Identified the enhanced inter-protein interactions that lead to large-scale aggregation. Wong, Eric K., Vera Prytkova, J. Alfredo Freites, Carter T. Butts, and Douglas J. Tobias. Biochemistry 2019.

Molecular mechanisms of arrestin activation – Simulations provide a structural foundation for the design of functionally selective ligands that lead to particular GPCR signaling profiles. N. Latorraca and R. Dror. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0077-3

Uncovering new ways to target flu viruses – A conserved amino acid could provide a target toward a universal vaccine for viruses. Xingcheng Lin, Jeffrey K. Noel, Qinghua Wang, Jianpeng Ma, and Jose Onuchic. doi:10.1073/pnas.1805442115.

Kink formation is required for lateral gating in BamA – Simulations of BamA reveal a dynamic gating between the N- and C-terminal strands at the barrel seam. Using free-energy calculations and mutagenesis experiments, it was determined that the C-terminus has to kink inward for efficient opening. lateral gating in BamA. Karl Lundquist, Jeremy Bakelar, Nicholas Noinaj, and JC Gumbart. doi:10.1073/pnas.1722530115

World’s Tiniest Test Tubes in Alzheimer’s Protein Simulation – Simulations of plaque-forming beta amyloid molecules offer insights towards possible Alzheimer’s drug therapies. From PSC’s Science Highlights Fall 2018. G. Eskici and P.H. Axelsen. doi:10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b04192.

Sticky and Loose Ends” Shed Light on Heart Health – Simulations show APOA1 protein ends link to hold together “the good cholesterol”. From PSC’s Science Highlights Fall 2018. Mohsen Pourmousa, Richard Pastor, Jere Segrest, et. al. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1721181115

Locked, Not Loaded  New target in HIV-1 replication. Simulations may lead to more effective anti-maturation drugs to fight AIDS and possibly other viral diseases. From PSC’s Science Highlights Spring 2018. J. Perilla et al. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01856-y.

Snapping into Place – Simulations give clue to poorly understood role of tubulin, the cell’s “Lego bricks”. From PSC’s Science Highlights Spring 2018. David Hoogerheide. doi:10.1073/pnas.1721181115.

Inner Space – Work on Anton highlights the importance of empty space for protein function. Simulations of T4 lysozyme L99A show that big gaps opened up in the protein, which “let in” molecules roughly the size of drug molecules. From PSC’s Science Highlights Fall 2017.

Hooked Up – Simulations on Anton discover the critical role disulfides play in holding together MCoTI-II, a natural pesticide that would fall apart without disulfide bridges. From PSC’s Science Highlights Spring 2017.

The Dynamics of Single Protein Molecules Is Non-Equilibrium and Self-Similar over Thirteen Decades in Time.”  Nature Physics 12, no. 2 (2016): 171–74. doi:10.1038/nphys3553.  Hu, Xiaohu, Liang Hong, Micholas Dean Smith, Thomas Neusius, Xiaolin Cheng, and Jeremy C. Smith. This article was highlighted in the cover of Nature Physics and discussed in the following article: Metzler R, News and Views Protein physics: Forever ageing, Nature Phys., 2016, 12, 113–114, doi:10.1038/nphys3585.

“Disulfide Bridges: Bringing Together Frustrated Structure in a Bioactive Peptide”. Biophysical Journal 110, no. 8 (April 2016): 1744–52. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2016.03.027.  Zhang, Yi, Klaus Schulten, Martin Gruebele, Paramjit S. Bansal, David Wilson, and Norelle L. Daly. This article was featured on the cover of the Biophysical Journal.

Hexagonal Substructure and Hydrogen Bonding in Liquid-Ordered Phases Containing Palmitoyl Sphingomyelin.Biophysical Journal 109, no. 5 (September 2015): 948–55. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2015.07.036  Sodt, Alexander J., Richard W. Pastor, and Edward Lyman. This study was featured on the cover of the Biophysical Journal and highlighted as New and Notable:

Janus Channel – Anton simulations reveal how pain, epilepsy drugs work through same target protein, from PSC’s Projects in Scientific Computing, Spring 2015.

A TUG Felt Elsewhere – Anton simulations show how drug-producing enzyme is enhanced by changes far from reactive site, from PSC’s Projects in Scientific Computing, Fall 2014.

Roll Out the Beta Barrels – Anton simulations reveal how dangerous bacteria install critical proteins, from PSC’s Projects in Scientific Computing, Spring 2014.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back – molecular dynamics simulations disclose how water leaving and then re-entering the potassium channel delays its return to the active state, from PSC’s Projects in Scientific Computing, Spring 2014.

A Movie is Worth a Million Pictures – structural dynamics simulations illuminate the mechanisms of sodium-coupled substrate binding/release in an aspartate transporter, from PSC’s 2013 annual report, Projects in Scientific Computing

Epic Microseconds – four projects yielding invaluable insights into the structure and function of proteins from PSC’s 2012 annual report, Projects in Scientific Computing

Protein Research Leaps Forward – four projects in MD simulation from PSC’s 2011 annual report, Projects in Scientific Computing

Atomic-Level Characterization of the Structural Dynamics of Proteins – This paper, published in Science, details the first millisecond MD simulation on Anton.
Shaw, David E., Paul Maragakis, Kresten Lindorff-Larsen, Stefano Piana, Ron O. Dror, Michael P. Eastwood, Joseph A. Bank, John M. Jumper, John K. Salmon, Yibing Shan, Willy Wriggers. “Atomic-Level Characterization of the Structural Dynamics of Proteins” Science 15 Oct 2010: 341-346 DOI: 10.1126/science.1187409

Millisecond-scale molecular dynamics simulations on Anton – This paper (Gordon Bell prize winner for best paper at SC09 ) contains measurements of energy conservation on Anton that you can use to compare with your own simulations.

Anton 2 at PSC is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01GM116961. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.