We're almost certainly not talking about MD-scale simulation here (through the high watermark of a billion-atom simulation of Cu crystals have been achieved, and I'm pretty confident that we can put a cubic micron of a biological system into the machine, and look at 1 ns dynamics of it brute force (and much longer time spans with tricks)) within the next decade.
In principle, if you could integrate these two current complementary packages
it would be probably up to the challenge of making a pretty good model of a minimal organism.
John Clark writes:
> Transhuman Mailing List
> I've been hearing some talk (the current issue of Science) of writing
> a computer program that completely simulates a bacteria, in particular
> a Mycoplasma chosen because it has only 265 genes and is the simplest known
> life form that has a metabolism. It would be a huge project but Blue Gene might
> be able to handle it. Among other things we'd need to know the 3D shape of all
> 265 proteins the genes produced but some of those are already known, obtained
> from laborious X ray diffraction experiments. If we really can write such a program
> then we can truly say we understand how at least one life form works. Anyway I
> was encouraged that respectable scientists are no longer embarrassed to talk
> about such things. There is even talk of making the first artificial cell, one that
> is even simpler, perhaps with only 180 genes or so.