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{bio,medical} informatics

Tuesday, February 15, 2000

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SF Gate Biologists, Engineers Teaming Up to Unravel Genomic Thread DNA sequencing instruments evolved in Silicon Valley
"The data pouring off this sequencing assembly line flows into an air-conditioned computer center. There, in the quiet chill, an array of 1,500 PCs takes these raw gene fragments, matches them to known sequences or marks them as novel, and deposits the data in storage systems that are the information-equivalent of bank vaults... the data massaging work doesn't require a very powerfulcomputer. There's just so much data spewing off the sequencing line that Incyte needed a cheaper way to do it.

So engineers wrote a program, based on the free Linux operating system, that allows those humble PCs to divvy up the processing chores. By using free Linux, and buying generic computers, Francis estimates that Incyte gets the job done at 10 percent of what it used to cost when the company used powerful workstations running the Unix operating system."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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