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Consensus Study Report


The remarkable growth of both computer science and biology in recent decades has drawn attention to their areas of intersection. Both fields have much in common; they are among the most rapidly changing fields of science, they both deal with very complex systems, and they both have profound implications for science and society. To examine the potential for greater interaction between the two fields, the National Research Council undertook a study looking at ways computational science can aid the development and understanding of biology and how the biological sciences might facilitate new and more powerful computational methods. This book presents an analysis of the potential synergies at the interface of the two fields and of ways to develop new collaborations between researchers in both areas to exploit those synergies. The book provides a large sample of well-documented examples of these interactions. The study concludes that the impact of computing on biology will be deep and profound and span virtually all areas of life science research. Computational biology will ultimately become part of the biological sciences. The impact of biology on computing is less certain, but could be substantial and should be pursued.

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 2005. Catalyzing Inquiry at the Interface of Computing and Biology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

468 pages |  8.5 x 11 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-09612-6
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-16489-4

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