[Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

How do you consider yourself?

As a bioinformatician
10
43%
As a computational biologist
5
22%
As both
8
35%
As neither
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 23


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pmeysman
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[Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

Post by pmeysman » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:03 pm

Hi,

Just wondering where everyone falls on the bioinformatics - computational biology scale.

Also a good test of the poll system. :D

Cheers,

Pieter
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Re: [Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

Post by danfdeblasio » Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:14 pm

I think it really depends on how you define as Bioinformatics and how you define Computational Biology. I know the US National Institutes of Health defined it as follows in 2000 [1]:
Bioinformatics: Research, development, or application of computational tools and
approaches for expanding the use of biological, medical, behavioral or health data,
including those to acquire, store, organize, archive, analyze, or visualize such data.

Computational Biology: The development and application of data-analytical and
theoretical methods, mathematical modeling and computational simulation techniques
to the study of biological, behavioral, and social systems.
But I feel like these two terms have been reversing in the last couple years. I feel like when I write a new algorithm to do some biological analysis (i.e. a new multiple sequence aligner, and prove the running time, completeness etc) some people call that Computational Biology, but others would call it Bioinformatics. In the reverse, when you use that aligner to find some new homology, that (according to NIH as I understand it) is Bioinformatics, but others call it Computational Biology.

How does everyone else use these terms? Do you agree with the NIH 2000 definition?

[1] http://www.bisti.nih.gov/docs/compubiodef.pdf
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Re: [Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

Post by Nazeefa » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:34 am

There's definitely an overlap in the definitions. As far as I know (and I might be wrong), computational biology is more about machine learning, and computing (as in more focused on computational aspects of....biological problems, haha), for example, creating platforms such as Galaxy. Bioinformatics also involves computing but I think it's more about obtaining, analyzing, and understanding the data using the computational tools.
Bioinformatics is conceptualising biology in terms of molecules (in the sense of physical chemistry) and applying "informatics techniques" (derived from disciplines such as applied maths, computer science and statistics) to understand and organise the information associated with these molecules, on a large scale. In short, bioinformatics is a management information system for molecular biology and has many practical applications. - What is bioinformatics? An introduction and overview

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Re: [Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

Post by imehedi » Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:07 am

humm, interesting topic.

IMO, bioinformatics = informatics methods/tools/services for biology. Computational biology is the outcome of the use of those informatics methods. I understand, a BLAST is a product of bioinformatics, and, "a derivation made from a similarity index between two strains" would be a concern for computational biology.
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Re: [Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

Post by pmeysman » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:41 am

I've heard several inconsistent definitions over the years.

I'm personally inclined towards:
Bioinformatics: Developing and creating new tools and frameworks for the analysis of life science data, e.g. training a classifier to solve a specific problem, or creating a better algorithm for sequence alignment
Computational biology: Using computational/mathematical/statistical techniques to gain new biological insight into the workings of living organisms, e.g. a study on the evolution of several genomes, creation of metabolic flux networks. (might involve the application of bioinformatics tools or some mathematical modelling)

So the difference is in what is novel, for bioinformatics this is typically a new algorithm or a new tool, while computational biology is typically more focussed on new biological knowledge.

However I actually just had a part of this discussion yesterday in class (but then it was bioinformatics vs data mining). And there I argued that application of bioinformatics tools is also considered 'bioinformatics'. So there is a heavy overlap in my own definitions.
Pieter Meysman
Former SC Chair (2015-2016)
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Re: [Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

Post by imehedi » Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:57 am

what do you think @anupamajigisha, @Chinmay_Dwibedi, @snaulaerts, @Alexander Junge , @Jakob, @frahman, ?


(+FYI: testing the mention feature)
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Re: [Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

Post by Jakob » Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:41 pm

@imehedi I think Computational Biologist

/J

(edited post)
Last edited by Jakob on Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

Post by imehedi » Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:44 pm

@Jakob,

All you need to do is type @ and then the username. No bbcode required. I can enable bbcode too though.
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Re: [Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

Post by Jakob » Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:46 pm

thanks,
After trying out I got it. It seems not to show highlight in preview mode but just when you actually submit the post.

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Re: [Poll] Bioinformatics vs Computational Biology

Post by imehedi » Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:54 pm

@Jakob yes :)
Cheers,
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