The MESC Genome Informatics Project officially started in April 1991, but during the preceding year we were performing a pilot study, partly in collaboration with the Institute for New Generation Computer Technology (ICOT) of the Fifth Generation Computer Project. The first workshop was jointly sponsored by us and the ICOT and held December 3-4, 1990 in Tokyo. Fifty papers were presented including keynote addresses by Kazuhiro Fuchi (ICOT) and Minoru Kanehisa (Kyoto University) and invited lectures by Ross Overbeek (Argonne National Laboratory), Yoshiyuki Sakaki (Kyushu University), Akiyoshi Wada (Sagami Chemical Research Center), and Shunichi Uchida (ICOT).
Because the Genome Informatics Project was funded separately from the main body of the MESC Human Genome Project, it was possible for us to independently set up long-range objectives of interdisciplinary research encompassing biological science and computer science. In the second workshop which was held December 9-10, 1991 in Tokyo, we were fortunate to have four invited speakers, two from Japan and two from the U.S. representing the molecular biology community and the artificial intelligence community. They gave the following talks:
In September 1991 we initiated the computer network "GenomeNet" which we consider an essential component of the infrastructure for genome research. We envision a network community where informatics needs of individual researchers and individual projects are realized by integrating databases and computational resources distributed over the network. In the third workshop of December 14-15, 1992 at the Pacific Convention Plaza in Yokohama, we set up machines with the Internet connection and exchanged ideas of new databases and software tools. There were 20 workstation presentations, in addition to 25 oral and 17 poster presentations. The invited speakers gave the following talks:
The current Genome Informatics Project lasts for five years until March 1996. By that time we plan to shift the sponsorship of this annual meeting to the Human Genome Center of the University of Tokyo. While there are immediate informatics needs to be met in the ongoing genome projects, the workshop participants may also have dreams of deciphering molecular and cellular aspects of biological information processing up to the life cycle of an organism and the origin and evolution of species. The scope of genome informatics will continue to be expanded. Because the information gathered from the Human Genome Project will have profound impacts on understanding ourselves, we may eventually be match-making natural and social sciences.
Genome Informatics Research Project