Biology Seeks a Few Good Geeks 
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 Biology Seeks a Few Good Geeks

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Biology Seeks a Few Good Geeks
By Dustin Goot
2:00 a.m. Aug. 19, 2002 PDT
PALO ALTO, California -- "We want theoretical computer scientists."

The declaration is perhaps not as stirring as Uncle Sam calling patriotic
men into the army in World War I, but Vicky Markstein is just as determined
in her pursuit and convinced of its importance to the nation and the welfare
of humanity.

As chairwoman of the inaugural IEEE Computer Society Bioinformatics
Conference, held at Stanford University last week, Markstein is trying to
recruit the leading minds of computer science into what she calls "the
industrial revolution of biology," an anticipated period of discovery
resulting from the analysis of genomic information.

To spark the revolution as she intends, however, Markstein must first bridge
a gap between two academic fields that do not always speak the same

"In math, everything is calculated and exact," says Lidia Martin, a chemist
at Barcelona's Prous Science. "In biology ..." she adds, and shrugs her

Lempel says that to collaborate effectively, computer scientists and
biologists simply need "to interact and discuss and not look in a downward
direction (at each other)."

For Vicky Markstein, the importance of merging the two fields is worth the
effort involved in getting everyone on the same page. She says, "The holy
grail for all of this is that we'll really get a handle on human disease."

"If you throw enough smart people at the problem, then you have a better
chance of getting something done."

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Sat, 05 Feb 2005 11:51:23 GMT  
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