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Despite September 11 Tragedy, OMG Keeps Standards Moving Forward at Toronto Meeting

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Although spirits were dampened by the tragic events of September 11 in the US, the Object Management Group’s Life Science Domain Task Force was able to push a number of standards closer to adoption during its latest meeting in Toronto, Ontario, September 10-13.

Submitters from the EBI, NetGenics, and Rosetta Inpharmatics presented the interim revised submission of the gene expression specification, MAGE (Microarray Gene Expression). The deadline for the revised submission for this specification was extended to October 22.

David Benton, chair of the OMG LSR, said there is “good general support” for the standard and expects it will be recommended for adoption relatively quickly.

A coding jamboree for MAGE was scheduled to follow the OMG meeting, but due to travel restrictions imposed by the events of September 11, only seven of an expected 25 programmers were able to attend. However, some work was accomplished via teleconference to develop open-source implementations of MAGE in Java, C++, and Perl.

In addition, the OMG recommended the LECIS (Laboratory Equipment Control Interface Specification) revised submission, leaving only the vote by the OMG board of directors as the final step to adoption of the specification.

Benton said meeting attendees also began drafting a web-based survey to assess the computational needs of the life sciences research community. A final form of the survey should be posted on the EBI website in early November, Benton said.

The group is also working out the details of the role it will play within the nascent Interoperable Informatics Infrastructure Consortium. “There are a couple of ways we could interact with the I3C,” Benton said. Possibilities include treating the I3C as any other submitters group, or else “I3C could work a submission through its own process and then ask the OMG to accept the technology in a request for comment process.”

The next meeting of the OMG LSR will be in Dublin, Ireland, November 12-16.

— BT

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