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Timeline of Bioinformatics
1985 - 1994

Bioinformatics - has a humble beginning in the late eighties.

The concept of the Human Genome Initiative materializes. Robert Sinsheimer, then Chancellor of University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), holds a meeting on human genome sequencing at UCSC, Santa Cruz.
Charles DeLisi and David Smith, then of the Los Alamos National Lab, commission the first Santa Fe conference to assess the feasibility of a human genome initiative.


Following the Santa Fe conference, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces the human genome initiative with $5.3 million to develop critical resources and technologies at DOE national laboratories.


October 1, 1986
Hwa A. Lim (aka HAL), joined the Supercomputer Computations Research Institute (SCRI), Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.
In those hacyon days of supercompters, there were only a few supercomputing centers in the world. In the U.S., there were: John von Newmann Supercomputer Center (Princeton, New Jersey), National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA at Urbana-Champagne, Illinois, the birthplace of Mosaic - the predecessor of Netscape), the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC)...
SCRI was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy; NCSA by the U.S. National Science Foundation, UCSD by the National Science Foundation...


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Senator Pete Domenici of the State of New Mexico, where Los Alamos National Lab is situated, introduces legislation for about $28 million to fund the Human Genome Project (HGP). Senator Domenici calls the project "The Greatest Wellness Project".
Congressionally chartered DOE advisory committee recommends a 15-year, multidisciplinary, scientific and technological undertaking to map and sequence the human genome.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) begins funding genome projects.
HAL, anticipating the avalanche of data and information from the HGP, coins the neologism "bio-informatique", with a little bit of French flavor, to denote a new subject area.


After making a few surveys, HAL initiates the preparatory process for convening the first international conference on "bio-informatique" to bring awareness to the community. The process starts by electronic mail since interested participants are most likely computer-savvy. During those days, the smtp mailers on VAX machines (the good heydays of VMS operating system) are not very forgiving. Emails frequently bounce because of the hyphen in "bio-informatique". In an attempt to overcome the problem, the word is changed to "bio/informatique" allowing for the fact that the "bio" is just a prefix that can be substituted. The change does not help. Similar email problems persist, which prompt HAL to drop the "/" completely and the neologism assumes the form "bioinformatique"
Two conference secretariats comment that the word is a little too French. It is then appropriately modified to "bioinformatics" in conformance with subjects like "optics", "statistics", "mathematics"...


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April 1990
With the help of Professor Charles R. Cantor (Chairman of the College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University) and Professor Joseph E. Lannutti (Director of Supercomputer Computations Research Institute, Florida State University), and advice from Professor Sydney Brenner (then Director of Medical Research Council (MRC, Cambrideg, UK) Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, 2002), HAL convened and chaired the world's first international conference on bioinformatics, Florida State Conference Center, Tallahassee, Florida, April 10-13, 1990.

International Organizing Committee
Benjamin Barnhart (US DoE); George Bell (USA); Charles Cantor (USA); Anthony Carrano (USA); John Hozier (USA); Hans G. Kaper (USA); S.P. Kurdyumov (USSR); Hans Lehrach (Germany); Hwa A. Lim (USA, Conference Chair); Thomas Marr (USA); Bengt Norden (Sweden); Michio Oishi (Japan); Philip Serwer (USA); Nobuyoshi Shimizu (Japan); Nancy Stellwagen (USA).
Local Organizing Committee
Hwa A. Lim; Donna Burnette; Rick McMullen; Patricia Meredith.


Photo 1. A group photo of a subset of the 120 participants of the First Bioinformatics Conference. Notables: Alexander Bayev (Chairman, USSR Human Genome Project), George Bell (Acting Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory Genome Project), Charles Cantor (US Department of Energy Human Genome Program Principal Scientist), Anthony Carrano (Director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Genome Project), Charles DeLisi (with Senator Domenici of New Mexico, an early proponent of the Greatest Wellness Project, which would be later called the Human Genome Project), Michel Durand (French Attache), a 6-member delegate from Japan (including RIKEN), and a huge 14-member Soviet delegate, something very unusual during the then Cold War era.
(April 10-13, 1990, Florida State Conference Center, Tallahassee, Florida).


Notatables at the First Conference are:
Professor Charles R. Cantor (who is Chairman, the College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University during the conference organization process. At the time of the Conference, he is Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Genome Program);
Professor Joseph E. Lannutti (Director of Supercomputer Computations Research Institute at Florida State University);
Charles DeLisi (Dean, College of Engineering, Boston University);
George Bell ( Acting Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory Genome Program);
Anthony Carrano (Director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Genome Program);
Temple Smith (Director, Dana Farber Cancer Center of Harvard Medical School);
Alexandar Bayev (Chairman, USSR Genome Program);
Boris Kaloshin (USSR Dept. of Sc. & Tech);
M. Durand (French Scientific Attache in the U.S.);
N. Shimizu (Head, Department of Molecular Biology, Keio University School of Medicine);
I. Endo (RIKEN, Japan);
N. Norden (Sweden).

The conference was funded by U.S. Department of Energy, and Florida Technology Research and Development Authority, Thinking Machines Corp., Digital Equipment Corp., CRAY Research Inc.
Note that the sponsors were primarily federal and state agencies, and general-purpose computer companies. Note also the huge 14-member USSR delegate headed by Academician Alexander Bayev, a rather unusual phenomenon during the Cold War era. Also present was a 6-member delegate from RIKEN of Japan.
A proceeding volume is compiled:
Charles R. Cantor, and Hwa A. Lim (eds.), Electrophoresis, Supercomputing and the Human Genome, (World Scientific Pub. Co., River Edge, New Jersey, USA, 1991), 325 pages.


Photo 2. HAL, Dr. Charles DeLisi, Professor Charles Cantor, Academician Bayev, and Professor Joseph E. Lannutti at a press conference, Florida Press Club. HAL, who coined the word "bioinformatics" in 1987, was the Chairperson of this very first international conference on bioinformatics. Dr. Charles DeLisi, one of the early proponents of the Human Genome Project, was Dean of College of Engineering, Boston University. Professor Charles Cantor was US DoE Human Genome Project Principal Scientist (present: CSO, Sequanom, San Diego). Late Academician Bayev (1904-1994) was Chairman of the USSR Human Genome Project. Late Professor Lannutti (1926-1998) was initiator of the Supercomputer Computations Research Institute, host of the conference.
(April 1990, Tallahassee, Florida).


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June 1992
The Second International Conference on Bioinformatics, Supercomputing and Complex Genome Analysis takes place at the TradeWinds Hotel, St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, from June 4 through 7, 1992. This conference is originally planned for St. Petersburg (Leningrad), USSR. The breakup of the Former Soviet Union forces HAL to come up with an alternative plan in less than seven months. St. Petersburg Beach is chosen partly because of the location, and partly because of its name (just like St. Petersburg of Russia). Participants from more than thirteen countries worldwide take part.
A joke that circulates during and after the conference is that some attendees of the conference mistakenly go to St. Petersburg of Russia.

International Organizing Committee
Sarah Barron (USA); Alexander A. Bayev (Russia); Charles R. Cantor (USA); Richard J. Douthart (USA); Radoje Drmanac (USA); James W. Fickett (USA); Moon-hi Han (Korea); Minoru Kanehisa (Japan); Seug-moak Kim (Korea); Nikolay A. Kolchanov (Russia); Michael N. Liebman (USA); Hwa A. Lim (USA, Conference Chair); Yong-ha Park (Korea); Robert M. Pecherer (USA); Chris Sander (Germany); De Witt L. Sumners (USA); Vladimir G. Tumanyan (Russia); Matthew Witten (USA); Ralph Z. Roskies (USA).

The conference is partially funded by Intel Corp., MasPar Computer Corp., World Scientific Publishing Co., Silicon Graphics Corp., Florida Technological Research & Development Authority, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. National Science Foundation.
Note the participation of federal and state agencies, special-purpose computer companies and publishing houses.
Notable among the participants is a 12-member delegate from Genethon, France.
A proceeding volume is edited to bring the subject area to the then relatively small community:
Hwa A. Lim , James W. Fickett, Charles R. Cantor, and Robert J. Robbins (eds.), Bioinformatics, Supercomputing and Complex Genome Analysis, (World Scientific Pub. Co., River Edge, New Jersey, USA, 1993), 648 pages.


Photo 3. A group photo of a subset of the 150 participants of the Second Bioinformatics Conference. Notables: Christian Burks (Los Alamos National Lab., present: VP, Exelixis), Charles Cantor (Boston University, present: CSO, Sequenom Inc.), Rade Drmanac (Argonne National Lab, present: CSO, Hyseq, Inc.), Chris Fields (NCGR, present: VP, Applied Biosystems), Pavel Pevzner (University of Southern California, present: Ronald R. Taylor Chair Professor of Computer Science, University of California at San Diego), Temple Smith (Smith-Waterman Algorithm, Harvard University, present: Professor, Boston University), Robert Robbins (Johns Hopkins University, present: VP, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center), Chris Sander (EMBL, present: Chief Information Technologist, Millennium), David Searles (University of Pennsylvania, present: VP, SmithKline Beecham), Mark Adams, Phil Green (known for his Phred and Phrap, inducted to the U.S. National Academy of Science, 2001), Edward Uberbacher (Grails), a delegate from Korea Institute of Science and Technology, a delegate from Japan, a delegate from Russia, and a huge 12-member delegate from France (including Genethon).
(June 1992, St. Petersburg Beach, Florida).


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June 1994
The third Conference on Bioinformatics and Gneome Research takes place at the Augustus Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center, Tallahassee, Florida, from June 1 through 4, 1994.

International Organizing Committee
Jagdish C. Agrawal (Saudi Arabia); Patrizio Arrigo (Italy); Sarah Barron (USA); Charles R. Cantor (USA); Julio Collado-Vides (Mexico); Janan Eppig (USA); Chris Fields (USA); Heinrich Giesen (Germany); Guo Fang Hong (People's Republic of China); Andrzej K. Konopka (USA); Lekan M. Latinwo (USA); Michael M. Liebman (USA); Hwa A. Lim (USA, Conference Chair); Andrei D. Mirzabekov (Russia); Yong-ha Park (Korea); Pavel Pevzner (USA); Robert J. Robbins (USA, DoE); Hans B. Sieburg (USA); Toshihisa Takagi (Japan); Cathy Wu (USA) .
Local Organizing Committee
Elena Kenderova; Lekan Latinwo; Hwa A. Lim (Chair); Eva Meirovitch; Victor B. Strelets .

It is partially funded by Compugen Ltd., Eli Lilly and Company, MasPar Computer Corp., World Scientific Publishing Co., Pergamon Press, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. National Institutes of Health, International Science Foundation.
A noteworthy point is that the sponsors were federal, state and international agencies, special-purpose computer companies, pharmaceutical companies and publishing houses.
The proceedings volume is compiled:
Hwa A. Lim , and Charles R. Cantor, (eds.), Bioinformatics and Genome Research, (World Scientific Pub. Co., River Edge, New Jersey, USA, 1995), 529 pages.


Photo 4. A group photo of a subset of the 130 participants of the Third Bioinformatics Conference. Notable at the meeting is a panel discussion on sequence databases (Philip Bucher, James Fickett, Murray Smigel, Andrzej Konopka, Douglas Smith, Philippe Rigault, and Tom Slezak), and another panel discussion on technology transfer (Mike Devine, Assoc. VP of Research, Florida State University; Richard Hogg, Provost & VP of Academic Affairs, Florida A&M University; James Ludwig, Eli Lilly & Company; Richard MacDonald, Biosym Technologies).
(June 1994, Tallahassee, Florida).


October 1994
The Bioinformatics Conference series Goes commercial. Soon after the Third Conference, federal and state agencies go through a period of downsizing and streamlining.
Cambridge Healthtech Institute (CHI) and HAL decide that the conference series should go commercial and be self-supporting. Initial negotiations for CHI to take over the biennial conference series begin soon after the Third Conference.
Judging from prior successes of the conference and the rising popularity of the subject area, CHI decides to make the conference series an annual event.


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June 1995
The 4th International Conference on Bioinformatics and Genome Research,
June 5-7, 1995,
Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, California, USA.
Chair: HAL


June 1996
The 5th International Conference on Bioinformatics & Genome Research,
June 10-11, 1996,
Baltimore Inner Harbor Marriott, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Chair: HAL


June 1997
The 6th International Conference on Bioinformatics & Genome Research,
June 11-12, 1997,
The Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, California, USA.
Chair: HAL


June 1998
The 7th International Conference on Bioinformatics & Genome Research,
June 15-16, 1998,
The Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston, Massachusettes, USA
Chair: HAL


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June 1999
The 8th International Conference on Bioinformatics & Genome Research,
June 14-15, 1999,
Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, California, USA.
Chair: HAL


June 2000
The 9th International Conference on Bioinformatics & Genome Research,
June 19-20, 2000,
Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, California, USA.
Chair: HAL


June 2001
The 10th International Conference on Bioinformatics & Genome Research,
June 17-19, 2001,
Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, California, USA.
Chair: HAL

Opening Remarks
by Hwa A. Lim.

A noteworthy point is that even though the number of participants had been intentionally limited to less than 150 in the first three conferences, the number climbs steadily to 350 in the Fifth Conference, a clear indicator and good measure of the increasing popularity of the subject area. The Opening Ceremony of the 10th Anniversary of the Conference Series, held at the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, on Fatherís Day Sunday evening (June 17, 2001), is attended by over 700 participants. Through the conference, the number of attendance remains the same, and there are over 50 corporate sponsors and exhibitors.
Selected lectures were compiled in a proceedings volume:
Hwa A. Lim (Guest Editor), Pathways of Bioinformatics: from data to diseases, Special Issue of Briefings in Bioinformatics, Vol. 3(1), January, 2002 (Henry Stewart Publishers, London, UK).

Proceedings Acknowledgments
by Hwa A. Lim.


June 2002
The 11th International Conference on Bioinformatics & Genome Research,
June 4-5, 2002,
Hilton San Diego Resort, San Diego, California, USA.
HAL is absent from the Conference Series for the first time.


June 2003 The 12th International Conference on Bioinformatics & Genome Research,
June 16-17, 2003,
San Diego Concourse and Civic Theatre, San Diego, California, USA.


June 2004
The 13th International Conference on Bioinformatics & Genome Research,
June 22-23, 2004,
Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, California, USA.





There are of course many other conferences on bioinformatics after around year 2000. This timeline reports primarily the International Conference Series on
Bioinformatics & Genome Research


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Definitions of Bioinformatics

  1. (Local Copy)   Definition of Bioinformatics as in Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University, New York.
  2. Bioinformatics as defined in Whitepaper Associates - A Technology Writers' Cooperative.
  3. Bioinformatics as defined by Therma Electron Corporation.
  4. Bioinformatics as defined by National Institutes of Health, USA, July 17, 2000.
  5. Bioinformatics as defined by Technology Grant News, page 9 of 16.


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Omics Articles

  1. Selected topics in bioinformatics, Hao Bai Lin, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, 2000.
  2. Computer giants invest in genomics, James Heckman,, Dec 28, 2000.
  3. The market size of bioinformatics by Roger James, UK, in Drugs and Markets Bulletin, August 2001, UK.
  4. Biological data becomes computer literate by N. Goodman, USA, in Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2002 February; 13(1), pp. 68-71.
  5. Where chips and cells collide: Bioinformatics by Ayon Roy, India, in SiliconIndia, August 2002.
  6. Integration of bioinformatics resources: Critical need today, in Pharmabiz, Mumbai, July 31, 2003.
  7. Current challenges in Bioinformatics, by Joao Meidanis, in M.A. Nascimento, E.S. de Moura, and A.L. Oliveira (Eds): SPIRE 2003, pp. 16 - 27, (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2003).
  8. Informatica e biologia dei sistemi, by Corrado Priami, in Mondo Digitale, March, 2004. (In Italian language).
  9. Bioinformatics, virtual labs, and the human genome project, by Anne Cordon (University of Toronto) and Dr. Donna Messersmith (Howard Hugh Medical Institute), reprinted (pages 43-67) from Proceedingsof the 23rd Workshop/Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE), M.A. O'Donnell (ed), 2002, 392 pages.
  10. Bioinformatica ed intelligenza artificiale in Programmazione, December 25, 2004. (In Italian language).
  11. A brief history of genome research and bioinformatics in France by Antoine Danchin, Institut Pasteur, France.
  12. Bioinformatics and internet: New paradigm to dsiciplines and information technology, Shiva Kanaujia, SRELS Journal of Information Management, 41(1), March 2004, pp. 43-55.
  13. Modelling the dynamics of biosystems, Corrado Priami, and Paola Quaglia, Briefings in Bioinformatics, 5(3), September, 2004, pp. 259-269.
  14. Bioinformatics - N 2004, Leif Schauser, and Thomas Mailund, Bioinformatics Research Center, University of Aarhus.
  15. Information systems in the life sciences, Fons J. Verbeek, Imaging and Bioinformatics Group, Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science.
  16. Whats is bioinformatics?, Patrice Koehl's teaching pages.
  17. Bioinformatics: from data to diseases, Briefings in Bioinformatics, 2002, in DoCIS (Documents in Computing and Information Science).
  18. The Development of Bioinformatics, Journal of Henan Agricultural Sciences.
  19. Monitoring Bioinformatics Web services requests and responses through a log-based architecture, Sergio Manuel Serra da Cruz, et al, In: XXV Congresso da Sociedade Brasileira de Computacao, 2005.
  20. Neural networks and machine learning in Bioinformatics - Theory and applications, Udo Seiffert, et al, In: ESANN'2006 Proceedings, Bruges, Belgium, April 2006.
  21. Bioinformatics articles by HAL.


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Omics Lecture Slides

  1. Computational genomics by Prof. Benny Chor.
  2. Bioinformatics by Evelin Kozma.
  3. Bioinformatics by Dr. Craig Struble and Dr. Michael Thomas.
  4. Information systems in the life sciences by Dr. Fons J. Verbeek, Imaging & Bioinformatics Group, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
  5. Selected topics in bioinformatics, by Hao Bailin, Beijing Genomics Institute, Beijing, China.
  6. Multiple sequence alignment by Dr. Kung-Hao Liang, ITRI, Taiwan.
  7. Introduction to Bioinformatics by Dr. Tzi Tze Liang , Xiamen University, China.
  8. Bioinformatics: History and Introduction by Luce Skrabanek, Cornell University, New York, USA.
  9. Bioinformatics by Zhang Wen, Kumin Medical School, China.
  10. Bioinformatics: History, Present and Future , Peking University, China.
  11. Bioinformatics 1: Biology, sequences, phylogentics by Sepp Hochreiter, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  12. China's National Grid - BioNode by Jun Wang, Beijing Genomics Institute, Beijing, Chna.
  13. Bioinformatics for the Practicing Pathologist by Gregory C. Critchfield, and Walter Knoll, College of American Pathologists.
  14. A Bioinformatics Study on Lymph Node Metastasis of Breast Cancers by Xuegong Zhang, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.
  15. The Future of Bioinformatics by Dr. Hwa A. Lim, San Jose, California, USA.
  16. WinBioinfoTools: Bioinformatics Tools for Windows High Performance Computing Server 2008 by Mohamed Abouelhoda, Nile University, Cairo, Egypt.
  17. The Promise of Animal Genomics by Max Rothschild, Iowa State University, Iowa, USA.
  18. Introduction to Perl Programming for Bioinformatics, Alan M. Durham, University of San Paolo, Brazil, May 29, 2003.
  19. Computational Science: Building the future on science and computation, Teerakiat Kerdcharoen, Mahidol University, Thailand.
  20. An Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms: Molecular evolution, from
  21. PCR and Primer Design, Dr. Mourad Aboul-Soud, King Saud University, January 2009.


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