Russ B. Altman (Keynote)



Title: Challenges for Knowledge Management in BHomedical Informatics


Abstract: Although some data structure choices in biological computing are relatively straightforward (using strings for DNA and protein sequence, and using cartesian three-dimensional coordinates for molecular structure), things get much more complicated when one tries to represent biological functional information.  Biological function is often described hierarchically, and is only "known" based on what is observable, not necessarily what one would like to observe.  This creates challenges and gaps that must be met with clever data structures designed to support complex reasoning tasks.  In the coming decades, I believe that more complex representations of biological knowledge will be required, and there will be a renaissance of interest in knowledge structures--data structures that can hold complex cognitive concepts--in order to support in silico biology.  These knowledge structures will bridge the field to high fidelity mathematical models of biological processes, and will continue to be useful as cognitively useful summaries of these mathematical models.


Russ B. Altman is associate Professor of Genetics, Medicine and Computer Science at the Stanford University Medical Center. He is also the Director of the Biomedical Informatics Training Program at Standform University.