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Group Pondering Bioinformatics IDL Standard Extends Deadline to February

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EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ--Companies and researchers interested in shaping emerging bioinformatics software standards have a little more time to offer their opinions. Industry officials meeting here December 4 decided to extend until early February the deadline for comments on developing a common Interface Definition Language (IDL) that will allow researchers to share software objects and data more easily.

"We've had an exceedingly strong response so far, but know there are many more interested parties who would like to have input," Eric Neumann of NetGenics, a Cleveland-based software company, told BioInform. He said the Object Management Group (OMG) task force overseeing the standards-setting effort has received 15 comments so far. Officials with OMG, a nonprofit organization that promotes standards based on its CORBA architecture, called that a very strong response.

But Neumann claimed the deadline extension will give more bioinformatics companies and researchers--including those in such related fields as computational chemistry--a chance to comment. "It will give us the opportunity to be more inclusive, and give those who felt rushed in preparing their comments more time," he said, noting that a diverse group of more than 35 industry officials participated in discussions here.

The next milestone will be an early February OMG meeting in Salt Lake City that could mark the release of requests for proposals on a basic framework for the new standards, and specific technologies to be incorporated. "We have enough to begin a discussion on the framework and move ahead with some ideas of what the standard technologies and tools in certain areas, such as sequencing, might look like," Neumann remarked. Eventually, OMG members will vote on whether to adopt the new interface specifications.

--David Malakoff

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