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July 17, 2003

Call For Participation: The 2004 O'Reilly Life Science Informatics Conference

Sebastopol, CA--O'Reilly & Associates invites biologists, computer scientists, software engineers, mathematicians, and experts in other related fields to submit proposals to lead tutorial and conference sessions at the O'Reilly Life Science Informatics Conference, slated for February 9-12, 2004 at the Westin Horton Plaza in San Diego, CA. Proposals are due September 1, 2003.

For the past two years, the annual O'Reilly informatics conference has focused on bioinformatics as the theme. This year, we're expanding the scope of this conference to reflect the evolutionary changes happening in the field of life science informatics. The conference will explore topics in life science--from the fundamental levels to the advanced--and will focus on the technologies, techniques, and tools used to understand and analyze that biological data.

The O'Reilly Life Science Informatics Conference brings together practitioners from biology, molecular biology, computer science, pharmacology, medicine, software engineering, chemistry, and mathematics for four days of information exchange, learning, and fun. This conference explores the intersection points of the various sub-disciplines of life science informatics and focuses on practical ways of applying the tools of computer science to the life sciences.

"Practicality is a necessity in life science informatics these days," notes O'Reilly editor and conference chair Lorrie LeJeune, commenting on what has been an over-arching theme for all of the O'Reilly informatics conferences. "As our knowledge of living systems continues to expand, so do the data sets. Storing, managing, and analyzing data sets is the focus of countless tools and techniques. The biological discoveries now being made are absolutely astounding, and will begin to have a wider impact as the field expands. Our first two conferences in this area were very successful, in part because informatics is an area of growth for both computer geeks and scientists. It's essential for the health of the field of informatics to bring these tools and skills to a wider audience."

The conference begins with one day of tutorials, providing background information or deep coverage of important issues in life science informatics. Three days of conference sessions follow, covering a wide range of topics and problems in life science informatics, from building tools using languages such as Perl and Java, to learning about systems for high-throughput data analysis. Confirmed keynote presenters include Howard Cash of Gene Codes Corporation and Thure Etzold of LION bioscience Ltd.

The O'Reilly Life Science Informatics Conference will also feature a poster session, for which we are also accepting proposals.

Submitting Proposals:

Individuals and companies interested in making presentations, giving a tutorial, or participating in panel discussions are invited to submit proposals using the online form. Proposals will be considered in two classes: tutorials and conference presentations (sessions). Presentations by marketing staff or with a marketing focus will not be accepted; neither will submissions made by anyone other than the proposed speaker.

Session presentations are 45 or 90 minutes long, and tutorials are either a half-day (3 hours) or a full day (6 hours). If you are interested in participating in or moderating panel discussions, or otherwise contributing to the conference, please let us know (and please include your area of expertise). If you have an idea for a panel discussion or a particularly provocative group of panelists that you'd love to see square off, feel free to send your suggestions to lsicon-idea@oreilly.com.

Since practicality is a conference theme, we'd particularly like to see proposals that highlight case studies, best practices for a tool or system, and fundamental skills. We'd also like to learn from things that don't work. For example, have you discovered that a popularly accepted approach or solution that simply doesn't work or perform well in your hands? Are there cases where a proprietary Windows app has saved you where Bio (Perl/Python/Java) couldn't do the trick? Did the widespread use of XML leave you gasping for bandwidth or storage where a simple binary format made the problem disappear without noticeable impact on information exchange?

Topics of specific interest are systems biology, drug discovery, advanced sequence analysis, cheminformatics and chemogenomics, biomedical informatics, open source efforts, ontologies, controlled vocabularies, taxonomies, standards, and tools and techniques.

Proposals need not be works of art--a thoughtful summary or abstract of the talk you plan to give is sufficient for consideration. We prefer outlines for tutorials. The proposal is what the conference committee uses to select speakers, so give the committee enough information to understand the topic you're covering.

Additional Resources:

About O'Reilly

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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