The accurate prediction of protein–ligand binding is of great importance for rational drug design. We present herein a novel docking algorithm called as FIPSDock, which implements a variant of the Fully Informed Particle Swarm (FIPS) optimization method and adopts the newly developed energy function of AutoDock 4.20 suite for solving flexible protein–ligand docking problems. The search ability and docking accuracy of FIPSDock were first evaluated by multiple cognate docking experiments. In a benchmarking test for 77 protein/ligand complex structures derived from GOLD benchmark set, FIPSDock has obtained a successful predicting rate of 93.5% and outperformed a few docking programs including particle swarm optimization (PSO)@AutoDock, SODOCK, AutoDock, DOCK, Glide, GOLD, FlexX, Surflex, and MolDock. More importantly, FIPSDock was evaluated against PSO@AutoDock, SODOCK, and AutoDock 4.20 suite by cross-docking experiments of 74 protein–ligand complexes among eight protein targets (CDK2, ESR1, F2, MAPK14, MMP8, MMP13, PDE4B, and PDE5A) derived from Sutherland-crossdock-set. Remarkably, FIPSDock is superior to PSO@AutoDock, SODOCK, and AutoDock in seven out of eight cross-docking experiments. The results reveal that FIPS algorithm might be more suitable than the conventional genetic algorithm-based algorithms in dealing with highly flexible docking problems. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.