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Sun/BIO I3C Effort Boasts IBM, Millennium, Accenture Among Its 23 New Participants

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The Interoperable Informatics Infrastructure Consortium (I3C) spearheaded by Sun Microsystems and the Biotechnology Industry Organization has increased its membership from seven to 30 since announcing the initiative last month.

Representatives from IBM, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and Accenture were among the new members who joined founders Sun, TimeLogic, Blackstone, Incogen, LabBook, Oracle, and the National Cancer Institute at the consortium’s meeting in Palo Alto last week.

The I3C was established with the goal of develop an open platform for the life sciences based on Java and XML.

While the original consortium members have already begun work on a prototype that is scheduled to debut at the BIO 2001 conference in San Diego, June 24-27, new participants are free to contribute to the platform as well.

Jeff Spitzner, chief science officer at LabBook, said, “We need to build a demonstrable system. The key is not coming up with standards on paper but coming up with something that users can plug into.”

Each step in the platform will use XML-based data sources. LabBook and Incogen are each contributing their own XML-based languages, BSML and VBML, respectively, and others will be developed as the project progresses.

One of the challenges addressed at last week’s meeting was whether to formalize the standardization process in a manner similar to the Object Management Group and other standards bodies. While it was determined that such a formalized process is not yet feasible, the consortium members agreed that all standards that do come out of the project would be fully public.

Spitzner said the effort would standardize a “minimal number” of XMLs.

— BT

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