Forum: Can we consider Bioinformatics as a engineering discipline?
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gravatar for anasjamshed1994
8 months ago by
anasjamshed199420 wrote:

Bioinformatics is a merger of computer science with engineering principles to solve biological problems . I think it should be in engineering domain but in Pakistan it is under IT
Plz give your opinions

forum bioinformatics • 559 views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 8 months ago by RamRS25k • written 8 months ago by anasjamshed199420
1

If anything it should be under (systems) biology. Key in bioinformatics is still biology, all the rest are just means to solve a biological problem.

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by lieven.sterck6.4k

traditional biology is descriptive, sentence driven, enumerative, dare I say "mechanistic" - this thing does this, that thing does that, but what if different combinations of "things" can give you the same "that"? There is no way to capture, model or understand those phenomena.

in my opinion, traditional biology is not well suited for representing the complexity of information processing inside the cell - hence a conundrum

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 81k
1

agreed and that's also why I added " (systems) "

Though I personally prefer to see it as an increase in biological knowledge, in the sense that we are now at a point (and even past that actually) where we figured out that the 'traditional' look on biology is (in most cases) not holding true anymore or at best is way to simplistic.

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by lieven.sterck6.4k
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What is the point of this question?

It’s all of the above, depending on your particular ‘flavour of bioinformatics’.

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by Joe15k
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gravatar for Alex Reynolds
8 months ago by
Alex Reynolds29k
Seattle, WA USA
Alex Reynolds29k wrote:

Engineers have specific degrees and certification processes in most, but not all countries. What this legal framework entails for you will depend on where you live.

Where there are regulations, engineers often accept civil and/or criminal liability when their products hurt or kill people. They put their stamp on their work to stake their identity on the safety of their design.

Bioinformaticians wear many hats and are programmers, often, or data scientists, but I would not call them engineers in the common and legal senses of the word.

There are virtually no assurances of legal or even reputational liability when you use an open source bioinformatics package, for instance.

You might be a bioengineer at a drug company that designs and manufactures a medication, stating its efficacy based on the calculations that come out of out of one or another bioinformatics or statistics tool, and that drug may end up sickening or killing patients. There is virtually no way to hold the developer(s) of that software to account for that outcome; it is contingent on you to assure regulators of the safety of your product.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 8 months ago • written 8 months ago by Alex Reynolds29k
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I found these opinion pieces addressing the question of "What have the principles of engineering taught us about biological systems" tangentially related and quite an interesting read.

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by Friederike5.2k
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gravatar for Istvan Albert
8 months ago by
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 81k
University Park, USA
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 81k wrote:

Bioinformatics is about information as the name aptly states (even though originally that was not the intent).

Initially, "informatics" meant the use of information technology (computers) to process data of biological significance. But the more we know about how the cell operates the more we understand that it is the information encoding and information processing of the cell that we measure with bioinformatic techniques. We are in the science of information interpretation first and foremost.

A cell is not a like a clock, a cell is not like a transistor, a cell is not like an engine. All of these examples are engineering products - the cell is radically different from each. So how could bioinformatics be engineering? I might even venture to say that bioinformatics is the "opposite" of engineering.

ADD COMMENTlink written 8 months ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 81k
1

Right, if anything, it's more like "reverse-engineering": trying to figure out how the heck the patterns we're seeing could possibly come about given the "system" at hand.

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by Friederike5.2k

I dont agree with you? plz search google with keyword "bioinformatics engineering"

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by anasjamshed199420
4

Why ask for someone’s opinion, then disagree with it? -_-

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by Joe15k
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It branches into many areas but Istvan's answer is more or less in line with my own idea about it. Take a look at my slides here, which I gave to school children on a school open day in Sheffield UK: A: What Is Bioinformatics?

By the way, it should not matter how one sees it... It is information technology, it is statistics, it is biology, it is software engineering, it is programming.

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by Kevin Blighe52k

bioinformatics engineering is data engineering to support bioinformatic analysis

ADD REPLYlink written 8 months ago by Jeremy Leipzig18k

the science of information interpretation

That's such a good way to put it. I might have to steal it for some slides. Although I think the stuff I do currently is more like information extraction :)

ADD REPLYlink modified 8 months ago • written 8 months ago by 5heikki8.6k
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