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Sun to Build Open Java/XML Platform in Response to Advisory Summit Findings

NEW YORK, Feb 16 – In the first of a series of interactive webcasts planned for Sun Microsystems’ Informatics Advisory Council, the company provided the first details Friday of its strategy to address the IT challenges of post-genomic life science research.

Sia Zadeh, group manager of Sun’s life sciences division, laid out the key findings of the first IAC summit held November 29-December 1 in Palo Alto, Calif., where delegates from industry, government, and academia gave presentations on issues that impact the life science computing community.

Zadeh summarized the most pressing computational needs identified by the IAC summit, which included integration, data standards, refined text-searching technology, improved data mining technology, and ontologies to represent data in a more meaningful way. 

Zadeh said that Sun has begun to address several of these issues. 

First, he said, the company is developing a web-based open platform based on Java and XML for data integration and interoperability. As part of this effort, Sun is collaborating with the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the National Cancer Institute, and several solution providers, including Blackstone, Incogen, LabBook, Oracle, and Time Logic, to facilitate the development of Java and XML standards.

Sun also intends to support the efforts of the Object Management Group’s Life Sciences Task Force and the bioJava and the bioXML open source groups. Zadeh said the IAC will hold a bioXML workshop at the Bioinformatics Open Source Conference that precedes this year’s Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology Conference in Copenhagen in July.

In addition, Zadeh said that Sun’s software systems group has begun to develop improved data visualization hardware and software through its software systems group.

Sun also intends to create several life science integration centers to foster convergence and integration in the industry. Sun is now “looking into various options” for these centers, Zadeh said, which would be similar to clinical systems integration centers that the company has already developed.  

Members of the IAC include representatives from GlaxoSmithKline, Monsanto, the National Research Council of Canada, Oxford Glycosciences, Pedigree Masterfoods, the University College of London, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Chicago, and from the University of Minnesota.


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