Leading Professional Society for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Connecting, Training, Empowering, Worldwide

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is ISCB?
A: The International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) is the parent organization of the annual conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB). The ISCB is dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of living systems through computation. The ISCB communicates the significance of our science to the larger scientific community, governments, and the public at large. The ISCB serves a global membership by impacting government and scientific policies, providing high quality publications and meetings, and through distribution of valuable information about training, education, employment and relevant news from related fields. ISCB membership offers many benefits including reduced conference registration fees to several high impact events and reduced subscription prices for a selection of journals of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. Members are from more than 50 countries and include over 800 students and nearly 500 post doctoral researchers. A member's meeting and a meeting of the Board of Directors for the Society are held annually in conjunction with the ISMB conference.

Q: What is the ISMB conference?
A: Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) is the annual meeting of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). Over the years the ISMB conference has grown to become the largest bioinformatics conference in the world. The ISMB conferences provide a multidisciplinary forum for disseminating the latest developments in bioinformatics. ISMB brings together scientists from computer science, molecular biology, mathematics, and statistics. Its principal focus is on the development and application of advanced computational methods for biological problems.

ISMB 2018 will offer the strongest scientific program and the broadest scope of any international bioinformatics building on past successes ISMB is designed to cater to variety of disciplines within the bioinformatics community. Learn more about ISMB 2018 at https://www.iscb.org/ismb2018general/aboutus 

Q: Who are the ISMB 2018 Conference Chairs?
A: The conference Co-chairs for ISMB 2018 are:

Honorary Chair: Gary Stormo, Washington University Medical School in St Louis, United States
Conference Co-chair: Christine Orengo, University College London, United Kingdom
Conference Co-chair: Tandy Warnow, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States

Conference Chairs biographies and details are available here

Q: Who do I contact for information on the conference?
A: You can get information on the conference from:

Steven Leard
ISMB Conference Director
Phone: +1-780-414-1663
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Q: Where will the conference be held?
A: The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago

151 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois, USA, 60601

Maps, Directions and Parking details are available at:


Q: What is the conference hotel?
A: The ISMB organizers through ISMB's official housing partner, onPeak, have reduced hotel rates for your trip to Chicago and ISMB 2018.  The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago hotel. Full details on booking are available at: https://www.iscb.org/ismb2018-accommodation


Q: Can I park at the conference hotel?
A: Yes parking is available for both hotel guests and non-guests. Parking details are available at:


Q: Can I ship materials or items to the hotel?
A: Yes, shipping direct is available - please note there will be hotel charges to receive shipping.


Q: Are Children allowed at the conference?
A: ISCB conferences are professional events. Children of registered ISCB conference attendees are welcome to attend the conference with their parent or guardian, as long as younger children are under the supervision of a parent or guardian at all times. Parents or guardians may bring children to educational events provided the child does not disrupt the event.

Q: Who should I contact about childcare?
A: ISCB is unfortunately unable to provide childcare services. Attendees are encouraged to contact their hotel concierge to arrange individual or group childcare. Please check with your hotel well in advance of your arrival date.

Child Care options are available through the following companies and are independent of ISCB and the ISMB conference:

American Childcare: https://www.americanchildcare.com/contact.htm
Sitters Studio: http://www.sittersstudio.com 
College Nannies and Tutors: https://www.collegenanniesandtutors.com/office/state/IL

Please note that it is the responsibility of the parent(s) and guardians requesting child care services to screen caregivers and to make a determination as to the appropriateness of the caregiver. ISCB does not screen childcare services and assumes no responsibility or liability with respect to these services.

Q: Do you have a Personal Consideration Room?
A private room is available during the conference for nursing mothers and others with sensitive personal needs. Staff at the registration desk will direct you to the room. Please note that this room is not staffed and contains tables, chairs, and a waste basket. A restroom is located nearby.

Q: Are Guest of Attendees allowed to attend ISMB?
A: ISCB allows guests (defined as a non-scientist family member or non-scientist friend) of registered attendees. If you are a registered delegate who would like a non-scientist family member or friend to see your invited talk or poster presentation, please visit the registration desk to obtain a guest badge. Attendees may opt to purchase a guest pass that includes access to all planned receptions and meal functions of the conference.

Please note: All guest badges must be requested onsite at the registration desk.

Q: Is there a policy about Alcohol and Smoking at ISMB?
Beer, wine, non-alcoholic beer, and soft drinks may be offered during the meeting. Alcoholic beverages will be distributed per the laws and regulations of the country where the event is being held and may only be allowed in specific areas.

Smoking and Use of Tobacco
ISCB conference are tobacco-free events. Smoking and use of tobacco is permitted only in designated areas outside of the venue. Tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, are not permitted in the conference or at conference events.

Q: Where is Chicago, Illinois?
A: Chicago, on Lake Michigan in Illinois, is among the largest cities in the U.S. Famed for its bold architecture, it has a skyline punctuated by skyscrapers such as the iconic John Hancock Center, 1,451-ft. Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower. The city is also renowned for its museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago with its noted Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.

Learn more about Chicago at: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/about.html 


Q: Do I need a visa to visit the United States?
A: International travelers should check with the United States of America diplomatic representative in their home country to confirm status of entry to the USA. IMPORTANT: If you require a visa to attend the conference please allow 3 - 4 months for processing. Details on entering the USA can be found at:



Q: Chicago Airports
A: Chicago has two International airports to choose from when considering your travel plans. O'Hare and Midway have approximately 1450 daily direct flights from more than 245 destinations.


O'Hare is just 17 miles from downtown and is one of the busiest hub airports in the country, handling nearly 70 million passengers every year. O'Hare offers travel to 240 destinations with approximately 1,180 daily departures.

Domestic Terminals 1, 2 and 3

International Terminal 5

There are power stations located throughout the terminals and Wi-Fi in most public areas of the airport (available for a small fee). Other features include an indoor urban garden, public art displays, a yoga room and rooms for nursing mothers.


    Located about 10 miles from downtown, Midway is a premier point-to-point airport, offering travel to 81 destinations with approximately 265 daily departures.
    Midway has three concourses, each filled with a wide variety of dining options and shops.


Q: What is the local Time Zone?
A:  Chicago is in the Central Time Zone - to see the current time and weather visit:


Q: What is the Electrical Current?
A: The normal electric current in the United States is 120 volts AC in 60 cycles. Plugs and sockets may differ from those in other parts of the world, so travelers should bring adapters or transformers for electrical appliances such as hairdryers and shavers. A diagram of the most common plugs and sockets is available at: http://www.eurocom.com/support/plugs.htm

Q: Calling Chicago?
A: Information on calling from your country can be found at: www.countrycallingcodes.com

Q. In what language will the conference sessions and materials be presented?
A. All conference presentations and materials will be presented in English.

Q: What is the climate?
A: Chicago averages a daily maximum temperature for July that's between 81 and 87 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 31 degrees Celsius). The minimum temperature usually falls between 61 and 66 °F (16 to 19 °C). July is Chicago's hottest month overall, with temperatures peaking on the 15th

Keep an eye on the weather at http://www.accuweather.com


Q: Where can I find medical information?
A: In all cases, except for emergencies, look in the phone book provided in your hotel or with the front desk. In case of an emergency requiring ambulance, fire or police dial 911.

Q: What can I do to ensure my personal safety?
A: Emergency phone calls Dial 911 for emergency assistance from police, fire, ambulance etc. If you are unfamiliar with the city check with the hotel front desk to enquire about restaurants, tourist venues, etc. Use the hotel safe to store valuables including laptops, cameras, important papers that you may not be using.

Q: What is the custom on tipping?
A: A gratuity is generally not included in bills (unless added automatically for group dining) - as a general guideline tips are provided for meals, taxi and hotel bellman. The general rule of thumb for tipping is 12% - 18% and a dollar a bag for bellman.

Q: What is the currency?
A: The monetary unit is the United States dollar ($).

Q: How can I pay to register for ISMB?
A: Delegates can pay on-line using the following credit cards or mail in a Check. Accepted credit cards are: Mastercard, Visa and American Express.

Q: How do I get from the airport to my hotel?
A: Options to get to the hotel from the airport are Chicago Transit (https://www.transitchicago.com/airports/) taxi or uber.

Q: Where do I register when I arrive?
A: Conference Registration is available from Friday, July 6 to Tuesday, July 10.

The Conference Registration Desk is located in the Ballroom Foyer, East Tower (lower level), of the Hyatt Regency Chicago

 Friday, July 6 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM and 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Saturday, July 7 7:30 AM – 7:30 PM
Sunday, July 8 7:30 AM – 6:30 PM
Monday, July 9 7:30 AM – 6:30 PM
Tuesday, July 10 7:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Q: What should I do if I lose something at the conference venue?
A: A conference lost and found will be located at the information booth located in the Ballroom Foyer, Lower Level, East Tower.

Q: What sightseeing opportunities are available in Chicago?
A: Chicago is world famous for its many attractions, architecture, restaurants and more. You can learn more at: https://www.choosechicago.com  

Chicago offers and abundance of activities to choose. Between all of Chicago’s top restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and museums to fit them all into your plans?

Explore the depths of the ocean at the Shedd Aquarium. Catch a fly ball at Wrigley Field. Take in a show at The Chicago Theatre. Ride the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.

Chicago boasts some of the best cuisine, attractions, craft breweries, and entertainment in the U.S., including several of the top 100 restaurants in the country, the tallest building in the US, and one of the best orchestras in the world in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

From shopaholics and sports enthusiasts to thrill seekers and foodies, Chicago has something for everyone.


Q: Why is the Bioinformatics Open Source Conference (BOSC) not listed at ISMB 2018?
A: The Open Bioinformatics Foundation is one of the ISCB COSI groups, but this year rather than holding their annual meeting BOSC as part of the ISMB, they are experimenting by co-locating BOSC with the Galaxy Community Conference 2018 as a way to reach a different audience. See https://gccbosc2018.sched.com for details.