It is now thought that 2,749 lives were lost in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001. Frightening though this total is, it was originally thought to be even worse. The first estimate was that as many as 10,000 people had died. The New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) faced an unprecedented challenge: to identify each victim, and, if at all possible, to return the remains to their families for dignified burial.
December 2005/January 2006
Robustness is the fundamental organising principle of evolving dynamic systems such as biological systems. One could say that robustness allows evolution to happen and that evolution favours robustness. For example, a biological signalling pathway may be robust not only to changes in molecular concentrations, but also to the loss of what appear, at first sight, to be essential genes.
The software business is full of examples of innovative start-ups run by bright and enterprising people, who know just how to make customers excited about their latest idea. But start-ups are very bad at talking to each other, and large companies can end up littered with applications that have a lot of difficulty sharing data and control functions between them.
Pharmaceutical firms have been pondering the value of the electronic laboratory notebooks for around a decade now. Despite having become increasingly reliant on interdepartmental research, high throughput experimentation, and other techniques that might logically have led them down the digital path, they have largely held to their paper counterparts. This year, a tipping point seems to have come. Now they get it.