The 2012 Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) conference in will be held in Long Beach, California, with 1,500-1,700 attendees, including 33-38% students/post doctoral researchers. ISMB brings together graduate students, post doctoral researchers, faculty, research staff and senior scientists of many different nationalities, all of whom are studying or working in computer science, molecular biology, mathematics or statistics. The conference brings biologists and computational scientists together to focus on research centered on actual biological problems rather than simply theoretical calculations. The combined focus on "intelligent systems" and actual biological data makes ISMB a highly relevant meeting, and many years of producing the event has resulted in a professionally organized and respected annual conference. The ISMB conference presents the latest research methods and results developed through the application of computer programming to the study of biological sciences, including advances in sequencing genomes that may lead to a better understanding of how, for instance, cells interact for the treatment of diseases such as cancer. Presentations may describe methods and advances associated with the analysis of existing biological literature, including benchmarking experiments, to create a better public understanding of scientific research reports. Overall, ISMB serves to educate attendees on the latest developments that will further drive the research methods and results of the field of computational biology. Students and scientists are able to return to their labs to appy what they have learned as they advance their own research efforts or begin investigating new areas they were exposed to as a result of attending ISMB. The scientific program for each ISMB meeting includes parallel presentation tracks of original research papers, highlights of recently published papers, special sessions focused on emerging topics, technology demos, late breaking research and poster presentations, an art in science exhibition, tutorial workshops, special interest group meetings and a student symposium organized by and for students. For ISMB 2011, 258 original research papers were submitted and 48 selected for the Proceedings Track, while 88 previously published papers were submitted and 38 selected for the Highlights Track. In all, over 225 talks were presented during the course of the 2011 conference, and similar numbers are anticipated for 2012. In all cases, submissions are rigorously reviewed, typically by three members of each track's committee before approval by the track chair, insuring the highest possible quality of work is presented. The specific areas represented in the conference vary each year depending on the areas that researchers find most interesting and innovative, and therefore submit as papers and proposals. This proposal seeks funding to assist students and junior researchers in attending the conference, thus exposing them to the latest research of their own areas as well as areas that may be new to them.
Bioinformatics is well established as an essential tool for understanding biological systems, largely driven by genomic sequence efforts due to the usefulness of genomic data in the quest to develop new and improved treatments for and prevention of disease is highly dependent on one's ability to electronically access and manipulate it. The Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) conference series directly addresses these questions by showcasing the latest advances in the field and exposing what's on the horizon of future discoveries, but is distinguished from many other events in computational biology or artificial intelligence by an insistence that the researchers work with real molecular biology data, not theoretical or toy examples. Although the cultures of computer science and biology are so disparate, ISMB bridges this cultural gap by providing a forum among biological conferences that features technical advances as they occur, which otherwise may be shunned until a firm experimental result is published.