The Object Management Group has widened its net by issuing a general call to the life sciences community to find out what areas it should turn its attention to next.
At its recent meeting in Paris, April 23-27, the OMG’s Life Sciences Research Domain Task Force agreed to issue the new request for information to take advantage of its recently adopted model-driven architecture, which requires new submissions to have a platform-independent implementation in addition to a platform-dependent implementation.
Now that middleware platforms other than Corba are permitted — such as Enterprise Java Beans, XML, .NET, and SOAP — the OMG hopes to attract the interest of a wider range of life science researchers and programmers.
While the Life Sciences Research Domain Task Force issued a similar request for information at its inception four years ago, “Anyone who read it would have said, well this is all about Corba and if I’m not interested in Corba there’s no reason for me to get involved,” said David Benton, co-chair of the LSR. “Now we can say that the OMG approach has opened up a lot and is much more open to diverse implementations. So we want to hear again, now, from the general community.”
Benton said the RFI is a “general call to the community” to find out where standard interfaces and object models are needed, as well as a chance to share object models that could serve as new prototypes or models.
In addition to the decision to issue the new RFI, a joint initial submission against the request for proposal for Biomolecular Sequence Analysis Entities (BSANE) was presented by the European Bioinformatics Institute and NetGenics. BSANE is an extension of the LSR’s first adopted specification, Biomolecular Sequence Analysis, which limited the biosequence objects to sequence, annotation, and alignment. BSANE will extend the specification to include the biomolecular sequence alphabet, fuzzy locations, weight matrices, patterns such as profiles and hidden Markov models, phylogenetic trees, assembly, composite annotations, and taxonomy.
The OMG will next meet in Boston, July 11-12, following the OMG-sponsored conference, Objects in Bio- and Chem-informatics 2001, July 9-10.