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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, September 1993; 5(3)

First International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology

The First International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology was held July 6-9 at the Lister Hill Center of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in Bethesda, Maryland. Over 200 biologists and computer scientists from 13 countries gathered to consider applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies to challenges in molecular biology, primarily sequence analysis.

The meeting was organized by Lawrence Hunter (NLM), David Searls (University of Pennsylvania), and Jude Shavlik (University of Wisconsin, Madison). Support was provided by NLM, DOE, the Biomatrix Society, and the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).

The conference was preceded by a series of tutorials, including introductions to AI for biologists and to molecular biology for computer scientists. Other tutorials covered genetic algorithms, neural networks, and linguistic methods for sequence analysis. The meeting was opened each day by invited speakers: Temple Smith (Boston University) on classification of protein structure "cores," Leroy Hood (University of Washington) on sequencing technology and recent results in immune-system-gene regions, and Harold Morowitz (George Mason University) on a new theory of evolutionary development of intermediary metabolism. Some 25 posters and 27 talks, accepted after rigorous review, are each represented by a paper in the published proceedings (see below).

The meeting focused on three major areas:

  • Predicting protein secondary structure and classifying or clustering tertiary substructures into families. The repertoire of machine-learning and probabilistic techniques being applied to these problems is expanding dramatically; papers were presented on constructive induction, probabilistic networks, case-based reasoning, hidden Markov models, megaclassification techniques, and neural networks.
  • Nucleic acid sequence analysis at a wide variety of levels, from base reading in sequencing gels to map integration. Novel approaches were presented to problems of sequence assembly and restriction-site mapping, gene identification, interpretation of DNA crystallographic data, knowledge discovery in sequence databases, and RNA structure prediction.
  • A variety of other AI techniques such as constraint reasoning and qualitative modeling, biochemical applications including simulation of metabolic pathways, the study of gene regulation, and automated analysis of biological literature.

Planning is under way for the second conference, to be held in Seattle at about the same time next year. To receive advance information on this meeting, send a message to

[David Searls (University of Pennsylvania)]

Conference proceedings ($45 plus shipping, ISBN 0-929280-47-4) are available from AAAI Press of Menlo Park, California (415/328-3123).

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The electronic form of the newsletter may be cited in the following style:
Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v5n3).

Human Genome Project 1990–2003

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international 13-year effort, 1990 to 2003. Primary goals were to discover the complete set of human genes and make them accessible for further biological study, and determine the complete sequence of DNA bases in the human genome. See Timeline for more HGP history.

Human Genome News

Published from 1989 until 2002, this newsletter facilitated HGP communication, helped prevent duplication of research effort, and informed persons interested in genome research.