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The DBCLS BioHackathon: standardization and interoperability for bioinformatics web services and workflows.

Toshiaki Katayama*, Kazuharu Arakawa, Mitsuteru Nakao, Keiichiro Ono, Kiyoko F Aoki-Kinoshita, Yasunori Yamamoto, Atsuko Yamaguchi, Shuichi Kawashima, Hong-Woo Chun, Jan Aerts, Bruno Aranda, Lord Hendrix Barboza, Raoul JP Bonnal, Richard Bruskiewich, Jan C Bryne, José M Fernández, Akira Funahashi, Paul MK Gordon, Naohisa Goto, Andreas Groscurth, Alex Gutteridge, Richard Holland, Yoshinobu Kano, Edward A Kawas, Arnaud Kerhornou, Eri Kibukawa, Akira R Kinjo, Michael Kuhn, Hilmar Lapp, Heikki Lehvaslaiho, Hiroyuki Nakamura, Yasukazu Nakamura, Tatsuya Nishizawa, Chikashi Nobata, Tamotsu Noguchi, Thomas M Oinn, Shinobu Okamoto, Stuart Owen, Evangelos Pafilis, Matthew Pocock, Pjotr Prins, René Ranzinger, Florian Reisinger, Lukasz Salwinski, Mark Schreiber, Martin Senger, Yasumasa Shigemoto, Daron M Standley, Hideaki Sugawara, Toshiyuki Tashiro, Oswaldo Trelles, Rutger A Vos, Mark D Wilkinson, William York, Christian M Zmasek, Kiyoshi Asai and Toshihisa Takagi

  • * Corresponding author: Toshiaki Katayama

Author Affiliations

Database Center for Life Science, Research Organization of Information and Systems, 2-11-16 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0032, Japan

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Journal of Biomedical Semantics 2010, 1:8  doi:10.1186/2041-1480-1-8

Published: 21 August 2010


Web services have become a key technology for bioinformatics, since life science databases are globally decentralized and the exponential increase in the amount of available data demands for efficient systems without the need to transfer entire databases for every step of an analysis. However, various incompatibilities among database resources and analysis services make it difficult to connect and integrate these into interoperable workflows. To resolve this situation, we invited domain specialists from web service providers, client software developers, Open Bio* projects, the BioMoby project and researchers of emerging areas where a standard exchange data format is not well established, for an intensive collaboration entitled the BioHackathon 2008. The meeting was hosted by the Database Center for Life Science (DBCLS) and Computational Biology Research Center (CBRC) and was held in Tokyo from February 11th to 15th, 2008. In this report we highlight the work accomplished and the common issues arisen from this event, including the standardization of data exchange formats and services in the emerging fields of glycoinformatics, biological interaction networks, text mining, and phyloinformatics. In addition, common shared object development based on BioSQL, as well as technical challenges in large data management, asynchronous services, and security are discussed. Consequently, we improved interoperability of web services in several fields, however, further cooperation among major database centers and continued collaborative efforts between service providers and software developers are still necessary for an effective advance in bioinformatics web service technologies.