Welcome to the working group of IEEE Standards Committee:
Vicky Markstein, Acting Chair; Phil Bourne, Chair: Betty, Recording Secretary
Some background on the Bioinformatics Standards Committee (BSC) activities:
First task: Make roadmap of existing standards group in the field. Find group willing to
go through the IEEE process. PSB is one of the open meetings. Others in ISCB, and CSB.
Active contact at conferences, e.g. Functional Genomics at Philadelphia. Regular
teleconferences on a monthly basis. Mailing list set up. Any interested party can subscribe.
Suzanna Lewis volunteered Structural Ontology to go through the standards process.
They (SO) are already started on a standardization effort.
Betty explains the IEEE process – ultimate proposed standard given to IEEE for public
review to solicit standards. All remarks must be answered.
Standards undergo review, renewal, and updating. IEEE requires standard review every 5 years.
We are looking for people interested in working with the SO standard – looking for
members of the Bioinformatics community to participate. We need people to review the
standard when it is ready.
IEEE has expertise in related areas: legal, for example. We are seeking open access. We
are trying to set a neutral platform – IEEE has developed a global community to
disseminate a standard to the engineering community. It would expand to the biological
community, and to the instrumentation of biological equipment.
Vicky: made remarks about how this activity started.
Q & A:
Relation with regulatory agencies, such as the FDA?
FDA may want to regulate microarrays
Relationship with European standardization organization?
Started talks with M. Ashburner, Carol Goble
Crystallography: standard of some sort is now being enforced.
Phil: PDB format goes back 20+ years. All software that deals with structure deals with PDB format. But PDB
format is unable to deal with molecules that we get these days. International Union of
Crystallography mandated development of a new standard (useful to PDB) for a wider
community. Enables MMSIF and XML data exchange. We hope that XML
representation of PDB will become the standard of choice. But no real enforcement at the
present. A PDB board members suggested posting a note that within 5 years, PDB format
would no longer be provided, but this was voted down. If you are development a
standard, it is difficult to realize where the science is going. One wants to project out as
far as possible to assure longevity. Community buy-in is vital.
Betty: By encouraging a standard, you encourage universal translators to convert between
someone’s private format and the standard format. Commercial opportunity for validation
suite production, to conform compliance to standard. IEEE may be able to contribute to
the effort by being the validating organization (for a fee?).
What about reference implementations? Is that part of the standard? Yes (Betty), part of
the standard would produce a reference implementation.
Issue of patents: discussion of nondiscriminatory licensing and royalty free licensing.
Next open meeting at ISMB
Teleconference in February. See website for details.