What is Systems Biology – an Opportunity for Computational Science, Math and Engineering

Computation plays many vital roles in high-throughput biology; from primary data capture in automated laboratory instruments to managing and making available the final results in databases.  However, gathering that data is not an end in itself.  It simply opens the way to tackling the next challenge: investigating how the molecular parts found by high-throughput genomics and proteomics work together in living systems.  Which leads to higher-level structures such as whole cells, biofilms, tissues and organs that computational models are being developed to carry out simulations. 

The various scientific efforts to address the challenge have been lumped loosely together into the term Systems Biology.  Also sometimes called in silico biology, integrative biology, or computational biology.  All these terms are imprecise.  These efforts are transforming the role of computation in biology.  Computing, especially modeling and simulation is becoming more closely intertwined with the science itself.


Kirk Jordan, IBM Corporation

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