The field of structural biology, whose aim is to elucidate the molecular and atomic structures of biological macromolecules, has long been at the forefront of biomedical sciences in adopting and developing computational research methods. Operating at the intersection between biophysics, biochemistry, and molecular biology, structural biology's growth into a foundational framework on which many concepts and findings of molecular biology are interpreted1 has depended largely on parallel advancements in computational tools and techniques. Without these computing advances, modern structural biology would likely have remained an exclusive pursuit practiced by few, and not become the widely practiced, foundational field it is today. As other areas of biomedical research increasingly embrace research computing techniques, the successes, failures and lessons of structural biology computing can serve as a useful guide to progress in other biomedically related research fields. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 99: 809–816, 2013.