Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name



Biomedical Sciences

Faculty Mentor

Jingshan Huang


The Smith-Waterman algorithm is the basis of most current sequence alignment technology, which can be used to identify similarities between sequences for cancer detection and treatment because it provides researchers with potential targets for early diagnosis and personalized treatment. The growing number of DNA and RNA sequences available to analyze necessitates faster alignment processes than are possible with current iterations of the Smith-Waterman (S-W) algorithm. This project aimed to identify the most effective and efficient methods for accelerating the S-W algorithm by investigating recent advances in sequence alignment. Out of a total of 22 articles considered in this project, 17 articles had to be excluded from the study due to lack of standardization of data reporting. Only one study by Chen et al. obtained in this project contained enough information to compare accuracy and alignment speed. When accuracy was excluded from the criteria, five studies contained enough information to rank their efficiency. The study conducted by Rucci et al. was the fastest at 268.83 Giga Cell Updates Per Second (GCUPS), and the method by Pérez-Serrano et al. came close at 229.93 GCUPS while testing larger sequences. It was determined that reporting standards in this field are not sufficient, and the study by Chen et al. should set a benchmark for future reporting.