We have developed a program SOAP for efficient gapped and ungapped alignment of short oligonucleotides onto reference sequences. The program is designed to handle the huge amounts of short reads generated by parallel sequencing using the new generation Illumina-Solexa sequencing technology. SOAP is compatible with numerous applications, including single-read or pair-end resequencing, small RNA discovery and mRNA tag sequence mapping. SOAP is a command-driven program, which supports multi-threaded parallel computing, and has a batch module for multiple query sets. http://soap.genomics.org.cn.