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ISCB Newsletter (January 29, 1999)
Volume 2, Number 1


The Seventh International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB '99)
August 6 - August 10, 1999
Heidelberg, Germany

Sponsored by the International Society for Computational Biology (in cooperation with Dechema, the German Informatics Society (GI), and the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)) ATTEND ONE OF THE PREMIER INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS IN BIOINFORMATICS AND ENJOY THE RARE SIGHT OF A TOTAL ECLIPSEThe ISMB conference provides a general forum for disseminating the latest developments in bioinformatics. ISMB is a multidisciplinary conference that brings together scientists from computer science, molecular biology, mathematics and statistics. Its scope includes the development and application of advanced computational methods for biological problems. Relevant computational techniques include, but are not limited to: machine learning, pattern recognition, knowledge representation, databases, combinatorics, stochastic modeling, string and graph algorithms, linguistic methods, robotics, constraint satisfaction, and parallel computation. Biological areas of interest include molecular structure, genomics, molecular sequence analysis, evolution and phylogenetics, molecular interactions, metabolic pathways, regulatory networks, developmental control, and molecular biology generally. Emphasis is placed on the validation of methods using real data sets, on practical applications in the biological sciences, and on development of novel computational techniques. The five-day conference is going to be held in the Stadthalle Heidelberg in the center of the picturesque town of Heidelberg in Germany. Heidelberg is one of the scientific centers of Molecular Biology in Germany. In addition to its renown University and two Max-Planck Institutes, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the German National Cancer Research Center are located there as well as many pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The region receives special funding as one of three BioRegio regions in Germany. Heidelberg can be reached conveniently by train or shuttle from Frankfurt airport.

The conference precedes a total solar eclipse which will happen just south of Heidelberg on August 11, 1999. Total solar eclipses are extremely rare astronomical events, happening only every few hundred years over a given point on earth. The next total solar eclipse in central Europe is going to happen in the year 2081; over North America the next total solar eclipse is in the year 2017.

The conference will feature original, refereed papers, software demonstrations, posters and introductory tutorials. There will also be an exhibition of hardware and software vendors. Papers will be published by the AAAI in an archival proceedings and are indexed in the Medline database, and will be provided to participants as a bound volume at the conference.

The previous ISMB meetings were:
1993: National Library of Medicine, USA
1994: Stanford University, USA
1995: Cambridge University, UK
1996: Washington University, USA
1997: Halkidiki, Greece
1998: Montreal, Canada

Keynote speakers
Manfred Eigen, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry,
Goettingen Germany
(Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1967)
Amos Bairoch, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Richard Karp, University of Washington, Seattle WA
Anthony Kerlavage, Celera Genomics Corporation, Rockville MD
Eugene Koonin, NCBI, Bethesda MD
Rob Lipschutz, Affymetrix Inc., Santa Clara CA
Matthias Mann, Odense University, Denmark
Michael Sternberg, ICRF, London UK

Paper Format
Papers should be a maximum of 12 pages, single-spaced and set in 12 point
type, including title, abstract, figures, tables, and bibliography. The
First page should give keywords, postal and electronic mailing addresses,
telephone, and fax numbers. See the WWW page for other conference details.

Submission information

For physical submission, please send five copies of your paper to:
ISMB '99
c/o Thomas Lengauer
Schloss Birlinghoven
53754 Sankt Augustin

Papers can also be sent electronically (postscript format only)
to ISMB-99

Organizing Committee
Thomas Lengauer GMD Sankt Augustin, Germany
Reinhard Schneider LION bioscience AG, Heidelberg, Germany
Peer Bork EMBL Heidelberg and MDC Berlin, Germany
Doug Brutlag Stanford University, USA
Janice Glasgow Queen's University, Canada
Hans Werner Mewes MIPS Martinsried, Germany
Ralf Zimmer GMD Sankt Augustin, Germany

Key Dates
Tutorial presentations: Aug 6, 1999
Paper presentations: Aug 7-10, 1999

Paper Submissions
Papers must be received by: Jan 31, 1999
Replies to authors by: Mar 20, 1999
Revised papers must be received by: Apr 9, 1999

Open Poster Submissions
Abstracts must be received by: May 15, 1999

Tutorial Proposals
Short (1-para) proposals must be received by: Jan 10, 1999
Full (3pp) proposals must be received by: Feb 5, 1999
Replies to proposers by: Mar 26, 1999
Draft handouts must be received by: Apr 25, 1999
Final handouts must be received by: Jun 20, 1999
Tutorials presented: Aug 6, 1999
ISMB-99 Contact address:

Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing
Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii, January 4-9, 2000
This is an invitation to submit proposals for sessions in the fifth Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (PSB), to be held January 4-9, 2000 in Hawaii. PSB will bring together top researchers from the US, the Asian Pacific nations and around the world to exchange research results and address open issues in all aspects of computational biology. PSB will provide a forum for the presentation of work in databases, algorithms, interfaces, visualization, modeling and other computational methods, as applied to biological problems, with an emphasis on applications in data-rich areas of molecular biology.

The PSB has been designed to be responsive to the need for critical mass in sub-disciplines within biocomputing. For that reason, it is the only meeting whose sessions are defined dynamically each year in response to specific proposals. PSB sessions are organized by leaders in the emerging areas, and targeted to provide a forum for publication and discussion of research in biocomputing's "hot topics." In this way, PSB provides an early forum for serious examination of emerging methods and approaches in this rapidly changing field. Proposals for such sessions are hereby solicited. A sessions proposal should identify a coherent topic that can be addressed by 3 to 12 papers. For example, a session might bring together papers on alternative approaches to a particular biological question or it might examine the applications of a particular technology in a variety of biological areas. A sample of the more than 30 different sessions at the previous PSB meetings includes:

* Gene Expression and Genetic Networks
* Modeling Metabolic Pathways
* Computer Modeling in Physiology: From Cell to Tissue
* Distributed and Intelligent Databases
* Biocomputing Education and Curriculum.
* Disorder in Protein Structure and Function
For more information, you may want to consult the PSB '99 online proceedings, available on

A major goal of PSB is to create productive interaction among the rather different research cultures of computer science and biology. Recognizing that many in the computational community believe the value of a meeting depends on the quality of its review process, every full manuscript submitted to PSB is reviewed by at least two anonymous reviewers, as well as the session organizers and meeting chairs. Accepted papers are distributed in a proceedings volume at the meeting, and are indexed in Medline and other bibliographic databases. However we also recognize that many potential participants, particularly from the biological community, do not choose to submit full papers to conferences, even with assurances of availability and broad indexing. Therefore PSB also includes a separate open submission abstract book, open poster presentations, and open computer demonstration sessions in which any registrant can present research.

Responsibilities of a session chair:
As a proposer of an accepted session, you will become the session chair. The chair's primary responsibility is to solicit high quality papers for the session and oversee their review. You are to solicit manuscripts, have them refereed, collaborate with the conference chairs in determining which manuscripts are to be accepted and structure presentation time in your session. Please contact the us at the address below if you have any questions about the obligations entailed in becoming a session organizer.

Procedure for submitting proposals:
Session proposals can be as short as a single page and should in no case be more than 6 pages.
The proposal should:

* Define a specific technical area to be covered.
* Justify why the proposed area is appropriate for PSB. Discuss why the topic is timely and important, and how the topic has been addressed in other conferences or recent publications.
* Argue that there is likely to be sufficient high quality, unpublished material to fill the session, e.g., a list of researchers you intend to solicit for papers.
* Provide a short autobiographical sketch and an explicit statement that your organization endorses your involvement.

Proposals and all conference related communication must be by email.
February 16, 1999 Proposals Due
March 1, 1999 Notification Regarding the Proposals
Each proposal will be evaluated by the organizing committee. We look
forward to your submissions. Send proposals to:
Lawrence Hunter, PhD.
National Library of Medicine
phone: +1 (301) 496-9303
fax: +1 (301) 496-0673

The Committees are at the place where the real work of the Society is accomplished. All Society members are eligible to participate in Society Committees and are encouraged to do so. Current Committees include: Conferences, Finance, Nominations, Outreach, Publications and a Website Committee [see below]. There's no shortage of work so there are opportunities on all Committees. If you are interested in more information on Committee membership and activities, send an email note to

We are particularly interested in recruiting a graduate student coordinator. This person will be responsible for both recruiting students and trainees and suggesting ways in which the Society could be useful to them. The graduate student coordinator will be a member of the Outreach Committee.

Conference Committee Members
*Peter Karp
Janice Glasgow
EMPTY, (R. Lathrop 1997)
1. Report on finances and attendence for all ISCB conferences
2. Report on preparations for all future ISCB conferences
3. ISMB site selection for future years
4. Make recommendations on integrated infrastructure for ISCB conferences
5. Make recommendations on support of other meetings
6. Develop criteria and requirements for ISCB support of other meetings

Finance Committee Members
Dominic Clark
David Searls, (also, liason to Outreach)
*David States
Alfonso Valencia
1. Generate revenue and expenditure projections
2. Develop revenue generation strategy
3. Develop guidelines for expenditures
[including for awarding conference travel grants]
4. Write grant proposals for Society projects
5. Liase with Outreach committee over financial outreach matters

Nominations Committee Members
*A. Keith Dunker
The Nominations Committee has two critical responsibilities.
1. To recommend candidates for the Society offices and Board of Directors
prior to the Annual General Meeting of the Society.
2. Second is to recommend members and chairs for the active Committees of
the Society.
Individuals interested in running for office or serving on Committees can
do so by contacting the chair of the Nominations committee

Outreach Committee
Kyoshi Asai
EMPTY, (R. Lathrop 1997)
Tom Lengauer
Chris Rawlings
liason to Finance: David Searls
1. Build relationships with other organizations
2. Devlop plans for increasing ISCB membership
3. Expand international participation in ISCB
4. Expand participation of underrepresented minorities in the Society
4. Develop press contact list, and make contacts with the press
[including announcement of the formation of the Society]
6. Develop advertising strategy
7. Nominate new Board members when necessary
8. Form a subcommittee on education whose responsibilities are
a. Develop a policy for promoting education and training in
computational biology
b. Implement the plan
9. Liase with finance committee over outreach in financial matters

Publications Committee
*Russ Altman
Doug Brutlag
Chris Sander
1. Evaluate the status of available journals
2. Make recommendation as to whether the Society should sponsor any existing journal(s) or start its own, and if so, recommend policies for the journal with respect to
a. delivery media
b. prices and Society revenues from the journal
c. relationship to conference proceedings volume
3. Review proposals for community annotation projects, evaluate, and
make recommendations for Society participation.
4. Arrange for ISCB membership discounts for other journals

Web site committee Members
Kevin Karplus
*Christos Ouzounis
EMPTY, (R. Smith 1997)
1. Identify Web site service provider and procure network services[including DNS registration]
2. Identify a web site designer and recommend procurement of web design services to executive committee.
3. Develop strategy for web site maintenance and expansion
4. Determine short and long term plans for web contents
5. Evaluate feasibility of using web site for revenue generation and,
if judged feasible, recommend a plan.