January / February 2004


Biology meets IT... again

The concept of 'systems biology' first grabbed more than passing attention on my part, because I was working on a document for the University of Edinburgh. The university has plans for something it calls the 'informatics hub,' a 50 million expansion plan. In working on the words, I managed to confuse bioinformatics with systems biology. Naturally enough, I went out on to the web to try to find a decent definition and explanation of what systems biology means to its practitioners. By luck, I found an article by Professor Denis Noble in the Nature Encyclopedia of Life Sciences.


Looking forward to a substitute for human vision

One of the greatest mysteries that hide in plain sight is human vision. While psycho-physicists and neuroscientists investigate the real thing, computer science has looked at it another way, by trying to make machines that can 'see'. Professor Rama Chellappa from the University of Maryland is at the forefront of this research. He has gone beyond simple pattern recognition, into a new area that tries to find ways of extracting useful information from an image.