VMD is a molecular visualization program for displaying, animating, and analyzing large biomolecular systems using 3-D graphics and built-in scripting. VMD supports computers running MacOS X, Unix, or Windows, is distributed free of charge, and includes source code.
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Members of the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group were part of a talented multi-institutional interdisciplinary team awarded at Supercomputing 2020 with the internationally recognized ACM Gordon Bell Special Prize for COVID-19 Research, described as the "Nobel Prize for high performance computing." The winning team developed a new AI-driven simulation workflow to drive 8.5M-atom simulations of the SARS CoV-2 spike protein, its interaction with the human receptor ACE2, and 305M-atom simulations of the full SARS CoV-2 virion, using NAMD on Summit, the most powerful supercomputer in the United States, operated by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The NAMD simulations collectively performed over one ZettaFLOP of calculation. The AI-driven workflow and weighted ensemble methods used by the team increased effective performance by orders of magnitude. VMD was used to build complete structures, prepare the simulations, analyze the results, and create all of the team's visualizations due to its unique capacity for working with extremely large biomolecular systems and diverse structure data. Due to decades of prior investment in the development of parallel molecular dynamics, ongoing technology collaborations with hardware vendors and national laboratories deploying top tier systems, and our lab's prior work to enable large all-atom simulations of viruses and other large systems of up to one-billion atoms, NAMD and VMD were well-prepared for the challenges posed by the project and its highly compressed research timeline. The team set several new high-water marks for the full virion simulation, molecular dynamics strong scaling performance, the scale of weighed ensemble accelerated sampling, and the use of AI-driven simulation for multiscale modeling. This marks the second Gordon Bell Prize for NAMD, which was also a winner in 2002. Read more about the Gordon Bell Special Prize for COVID-19 Research here.
Other Spotlights

Image courtesy L. Casalino.
--> Made with VMD


Molecular representations
VMD plugin library
Molecular file formats
GPU-accelerated computing
Interactive molecular dynamics
Programs that use VMD
VMD research publications
How to cite VMD
VMD citation list (37,000 as of Mar'21)


Download (all versions)
VMD 1.9.4 (MacOS X, Unix, Windows)
VMD 1.9.3 (MacOS X, Unix, Windows)
VMD script library
License, Copyright and Disclaimer

Documentation and Support

User and installation guides
VMD-L mailing list
Publication image tutorial (YouTube)
Quick help
Bug List

News and Announcements

Dynamics of chromosome organization in a minimal bacterial cell, FCDB, 2023
VMD as a Platform for Interactive Small Molecule Preparation and Visualization in Quantum and Classical Simulations, JCIM, 2023
Human Learning for Molecular Simulations: The Collective Variables Dashboard in VMD, JCTC, 2022
ANARI: A 3D Rendering API Standard, CiSE, 2022
#COVIDisAirborne: AI-Enabled Multiscale Computational Microscopy of Delta SARS-CoV-2 in a Respiratory Aerosol, IJHPCA, 2022
Intelligent Resolution: Integrating Cryo-EM with AI-Driven Multi-Resolution Simulations to Observe the SARS-CoV-2 Replication-Transcription Machinery in Action, IJHPCA, 2022
The Coronavirus in a Tiny Drop, VMD visualizations of aerosolized SARS-CoV-2, NYT, 2021
NIH Director's blog highlights neuroscience adaptation of VMD
AI-driven multiscale simulations illuminate mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 spike dynamics, IJHPCA, 2021
Multiscale modeling and cinematic visualization of photosynthetic energy conversion processes from electronic to cell scales, J. Par. Comp. 2021
NAMD and VMD part of the team winning the ACM COVID-19 Gordon Bell Prize for 2020
The Coronavirus Unveiled, VMD visualizations of SARS-CoV-2, NYT, 2020
Scalable molecular dynamics on CPU and GPU architectures with NAMD, JCP, 2020
VMD test builds for MacOS X 10.15 "Catalina" (April 24, 2020)
Past announcements


An Accessible Visual Narrative for the Primary Energy Source of Life from the Fulldome Show Birth of Planet Earth, 1st Place Winner, SC'19 Viz. Showcase
Chromatophore VR demo (VMD + Unreal Game Engine) shown in NVIDIA booth at SC'16
Example VMD VR/3-D YouTube videos
Chemical Visualization of Human Pathogens: the Retroviral Capsids, Finalist, SC'15 Viz. Showcase
Visualization of Energy Conversion Processes in a Light Harvesting Organelle at Atomic Detail, 1st Place Winner, SC'14 Viz. Showcase
VMD movie gallery on YouTube
Gallery of Posters, Images, and Movies made with VMD
VMD running in the NanoDome at Temple University


VMD User Survey Results
VMD development status and pre-release test downloads
CVS source code access
VMD Programmer's documentation