This grant application is designed to help the researchers who have been developing emerging community standards in computational systems biology to travel to the R. D. Berlin Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling in Farmington, CT, which will host the Hackathon on Resources in Modeling in Biology (HARMONY) 2013 meeting. The focus is on four core community-accepted languages, standards and ontologies used in biological modeling and data analysis (SBML, BioPAX, SBGN, and SED-ML), whose communities of users and developers have joined forces as part of the Computational Modeling in Biology network (COMBINE). The main purpose of the conference is to improve interoperability between formats and to jump-start efforts to address newly identified unmet needs or critical gaps in coverage. The HARMONY meetings have emerged as an invaluable venue for hashing out concrete high priority issues and devise new solutions for apparent stumbling blocks, with face-to-face meetings and hands-on participation of leaders in the field. The conference will bring together leading scientists and software developers, experts in biological modeling, bioinformatics and computer science, who are actively involved in the development of standards and/or the software tools and repositories that use them. A large part of the meeting will consist of hackathon-style parallel tracks of working groups that are tasked to address concrete problems and to produce deliverables such as draft specifications and/or prototype implementations. We wish to emphasize that most of the leading members of the different groups of the COMBINE network serve as volunteers and do not have dedicated funding for this activity, which is nonetheless crucial to the scientific community. It is importan that as many as possible of these researchers are present at the HARMONY conference. We are striving to maintain the cost of attending to a minimum and we will be able to organize the meeting without charging any registration fee. However, no support is available to directly defray the costs of travel for participants, which often does make up for most of the financial burden to attend meetings that have a global audience. We are therefore requesting funds to partially defray the travel costs for some of the key participants to the conference.
This conference will help advance standardized computer-readable formats used to describe models of biological phenomena, which will help develop powerful new ways to use computer simulations for understanding the complexity of disease.