qualign: solving sequence alignment based on quadratic unconstrained binary optimisation

Yuki Matsumoto, Shota Nakamura


Bioinformatics has, among others, the issue of solving complex computational problems with vast amounts of sequencing data. Recently, a new computing architecture, the annealing machine, has emerged that applies to actual problems and is available for practical use. This novel architecture can solve discrete optimisation problems by replacing algorithms designed under the von Neumann architecture. To perform computations on the annealing machine, quadratic unconstrained binary optimisation (QUBO) formulations should be constructed and optimised according to the application. In this study, we developed an algorithm under the annealing machine architecture to solve sequence alignment problems, a known fundamental process widely used in genetic analysis, such as mutation detection and genome assembly. We constructed a QUBO formulation based on dynamic programming to solve a pairwise sequence alignment and derived its general form. We compared with conventional methods to solve 40 bp of pairwise alignment problem. Our implementation, named qualign, solved sequence alignment problems with accuracy comparable to that of conventional methods. Although a small pairwise alignment was solved owing to the limited memory size of this method, this is the first step of the application of annealing machines. We showed that our QUBO formulation solved the sequencing alignment problem. In the future, increasing the memory size of annealing machine will allow annealing machines to impact a wide range of bioinformatics applications positively.

Availability: the source code of qualign is available at https://github.com/ymatsumoto/qualign


annealing machine; sequence alignment; QUBO

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.14806/ej.28.0.1020


  • There are currently no refbacks.