This meeting marks a milestone for Bio-medical Computing. It announces a readiness to be recognized as an entity in the bioscience community and perhaps in the political arena as well. In 1965, when Bruce Waxman left the Biomedical Computer Study Section at the NIH, he said to the committee, in effect, “It’s been great, fellows, starting to fund biomedical computer research and facilities, and getting a new field going, but in all honesty I can’t think of a single major contribution biomedical computing has made to the advancement of biomedical research.” Just 9 years later, at this conference, it has taken the better part of a week for our speakers to skim lightly over a wide range of scientific advances in which the computer has played an absolutely critical role. From another perspective, it may be observed that NIH now supports research in which the computer plays a major role at a rate close to $100 million per year. Although this figure represents the total costs of the identified research, not just the computer costs, it commands attention. It emphasizes a point made by the substance of most of the papers presented at this conference—hat the computer is no mere alternative tool in today’s bioscience effort, it has become an integral component of the scientific process itself in many areas of investigation. The ramifications of these observations are many, but they are not my privilege to explore here. I must turn to my assigned role which is to summarize the first session of this conference.
KeywordsPolitical Arena Life Science Research Search Planning Medical Computing Assigned Role
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