The Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (PSB) is an international, multidisciplinary conference for the presentation and discussion of current research in the theory and practice of computational methods as applied to significant biological problems. PSB 2010 - 2014 will be the 15th - 20th meetings of this series. Each March, participants propose sessions for the PSB meeting to be held the following January. In an increasingly competitive selection process, 6 to 8 sessions are chosen, and the submitters of the accepted proposals become the organizers for the sessions. These sessions are often organized by young scientists who are developing new research areas, and so PSB provides early opportunities for serious examination of emerging methods and approaches in this rapidly changing field. This mechanism also provides the opportunity for a young scientist to gain a significant career boost by organizing a PSB session. Accepted papers are published in the archival proceedings volumes, which are indexed by PubMed. The resulting papers are all open access. Submitted papers are rigorously reviewed, with typically 30% or fewer being accepted for publication, corresponding to about 50 papers each year. A total of about 33 of the very best papers are presented orally. These presentations are organized into 6 to 8 sessions. In addition, the PSB contains the following: 1. two keynote lectures;2. a continuous poster session;and 3. session-associated workshops that promote highly focused group discussions. Prior to the main meeting, session-associated tutorials provide background for the upcoming sessions and emerging-area workshops help lay the groundwork for future developments. PSB has continually improved from participant feedback and suggestions. The PSB meeting is highly regarded, and the PSB proceedings are well read. For the volumes from 1996 to 2004, the impact factor for the articles in the PSB proceedings is about 6.2 (our estimate, data from the Web of Science). Given the dynamic way in which sessions are chosen, this meeting continues to play an important role in the development of computational biology / bioinformatics by providing important, critical exposure to emerging areas, and the solid citation rate indicates a strong impact of this meeting.
Computational biology or bioinformatics is the application of computational methods to help solve problems in biology. In brief, a human cell has about 3 billion subunits that make up DNA, the cell has more that 20,000 different proteins (and many of these proteins exist in multiple forms), and the cell has an undetermined number of regulatory molecules. These entities and their interactions play significant roles in human health and disease. Dealing with all of these entities and their interactions requires extensive use of computer hardware and software. It is important for researchers who are developing and using these computer programs to share information at scientific meetings, to learn the best ways of using and manipulating these programs. The Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (PSB) is one of the more significant scientific meetings on this topic. Significant understanding of human diseases has come from the PSB.