From: Warren L. DeLano <warren@su...> - 2002-03-31 21:02:08
I will be giving a talk at Stanford on PyMOL and Open-Source this
Wednesday, as part of the Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium. This
is a high-profile seminar series, which this year inludes leaders
from Microsoft, Intel, CNN, IBM, VA Linux (now VA Software) and a
variety of major universities. It should be very encouraging to everyone
involved that the PyMOL phenomenon has been deemed important enough
to merit coverage in such a venue.
If you are fortunate enough to live in the SF Bay Area, then please
consider attending. Otherwise, be sure to check out the streaming version
on the web, which should become available shortly after the talk.
"Creating Open-Source Tools for Drug Discovery:
How Free Software Might Save Your Life"
4:15PM, Wednesday, April 3, 2002
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03
Biology and medicine are being revolutionized by technological advances
such as the human genome project, DNA chips, proteomics, automated
synthesis, and high-throughput screening technologies. As a result,
modern research is becoming profoundly information-driven and heavily
software-dependent. However, many key software tools for analyzing
biological and chemical information are not widely accessible because of
continued adherence to traditional, restrictive approaches to software
development and distribution.
In order for biomedicial science to progress at an optimal pace, we must
adopt a new paradigm for creation and dissemination of core computational
technologies. During the past decade, while chemists and biologists were
busy developing new experimental methods, computer scientists invented
powerful new software technologies that will enable a more
research-oriented approach to biomedical software. Specifically,
collaborative internet development tools and modular dynamically-linked
programming languages make open-source development a realistic and
superior means by which scientists can create interoperable tools and
share them in true academic spirit. The internet provides the foundation
for formation of global communities around specific projects, and thanks
to the proliferation of high-bandwidth connections, distribution costs
have been reduced to near zero.
The PyMOL molecular graphics system is a concrete and successful example
of this new paradigm for scientific software development. Here I explore
how PyMOL will specifically help to spread the open-source vision, and how
open-source developers may be able to eventually assemble a complete
platform for biomedical science through sponsored development of
critical components. Also addressed are some of the economic issues
surrounding open-source development, and the important role to be played
by independent open-source software publishers.