W3C

W3C Workshop on Semantic Web for Life Sciences Draws Broad International Support

Participants to Explore Current and Potential Applications and Identify Future Coordination Efforts Needed

Contact Americas and Australia --
Karen Myers, <karen@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5509 or +1.978.502.6218
Contact Europe, Africa and Middle East --
Marie-Claire Forgue, <mcf@w3.org>, +33.492.38.75.94
Contact Asia --
Yasuyuki Hirakawa <chibao@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170
(also available in French and Japanese)
Editors' Note: A telephone briefing for the news media is scheduled for Monday, 1 November at 1:00 p.m. EST. Please contact Karen Myers for more information.

http://www.w3.org/ -- 26 October 2004 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) will host a Workshop on Semantic Web for Life Sciences October 27-28 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA that will bring together for the first time a diverse and international group of scientists, technologists, and health industry experts to discuss the ways in which Semantic Web technology can help meet the challenge of publishing and sharing complex scientific data. The workshop will address the growing need for biological data networks that help advance human and machine understanding about diseases, therapies, and drug development. Through the use of new Web technologies that allow computers to do more useful work with complex biological data, researchers can more quickly advance human knowledge.

“The challenges posed by drug discovery can only be solved if we can integrate data across the many fields of life sciences,” explained Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium. "As we have seen in other industries, when one field adopts standard technologies for data, the impact is that its data becomes accessible to those in other fields, and barriers to sharing information crumble. It's at the heart of the Semantic Web."

"There is already a significant body of work in mapping life sciences knowledge into interconnected data networks based on the W3C’s Semantic Web technologies," continued John Wilbanks, W3C Fellow. "With significant participation of the life sciences community, we're hoping that this workshop will bring more opportunities for information sharing to light, and to encourage work based on leading work in research and industry today."

Approximately 30 position papers will be presented that address how Semantic Web foundation technologies such as Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Web Ontology Language (OWL) are being used as an interoperable approach to reduce the barriers and costs associated with effective data integration, analysis, and collaboration. Following the opening keynote by Tim Berners-Lee, experts from the National Cancer Institute Center for Bioinformatics, the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics/UniProt, Jackson Laboratories, and the University of Michigan School of Medicine will explain their use of Semantic Web technologies for public information frameworks (ontologies). Representatives from companies such as Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Astra Zeneca, Elsevier, HP, IBM, and Oracle Life Sciences will share case studies on topics such as knowledge management, scientific publishing, and the use of ontologies.

A W3C workshop is an opportunity to bring together W3C Members and the public to discuss possible future directions for W3C work. Position papers, presentations, and minutes from this workshop will be posted publicly on the W3C Web site after the workshop.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, nearly 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org/