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                        Call for Position Papers

                           IEEE Workshop on
    XML-Enabled Wide Area Search in Bioinformatics (XEWA)

       Date:     December 13-14, 2000
       Location: South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center
                      League City, Texas

There are well over 500 public domain data sources of interest to
genomics/proteomics researchers.  Many of these "data sources" do more
than just provide data, they also provide access to a wide range of
services.  A good example of this are sequence homology search
engines.  Given the differences in interfaces, syntax and semantics
between sites, there is no practical path for a given researcher or
research team to use more than a few.  Data warehouses, federated
systems, and the like help, but only a little.  The number of new
sources coming online every year, and the number of changes to
existing sources, is simply overwhelming.  This is one of the major
problems driving bioinformatics today.

We picture a genomics world in which scientists, search engines, and
soft-bots can browse and execute (limited) queries against a wide
range of sites, with no significant per-site overhead.  Rather than
attempting to integrate these sources (thus allowing complex queries
against few sites), we advocate providing just enough connective
tissue to allow semi-intelligent agents or search engines to execute
simplified queries against hundreds of sites.  The connective tissue
can take the form of a collection of loose, service-oriented
"schemata" that provide such systems with the information needed to
work their way through the interface at each site, to get to the
underlying services.  A schema might include structured metadata with
domain-specific information, a thesaurus, service descriptions, and
typical web interfaces.  Relevant technology has been demonstrated in
the electronic commerce arena.  To help get there, this 2-day workshop
will focus on the following goals:

    1. Enumerate relevant service types for bioinformatics.

    2. Prioritize services according to those whose availability would
       provide the most bang for the buck.

    3. Explore alternative representations for representing the
       schemata (e.g., RDF, XML, XOL), and converge on one or a few
       preferable options.

    4. Produce several service-oriented schemata that provide the
       "connective tissue" needed to access existing sites and
       services using a representation neutral format (e.g ER / OO /
       UML diagrams).

These goals allow us to take a small, but significant step forward.
We can not hope to end up with descriptions that will be complete
enough to describe all the relevant services provided by all web sites
of interest to the community - the semantic, syntactic and political
challenges are too great.  We do believe, however, that a few simple,
well-constructed schemata will provide the base-level semantic and
syntactic information necessary to support limited (but currently
non-existent!) "1-click" browse and query access to a few important
services located across a wide range of sites.

We will limit participation to a small group of about 50 people from
industry and academia that are data providers, users, bioinformatics
researchers, or web-oriented IR researchers.  Workshop participants
should plan on arriving the evening before.

A block of rooms have been reserved at the South Shore Harbour
Resort and Conference (281-334-1000) at a rate of $105 single or
double occupancy a list of other hotels in the vicinity and directions
from the Houston Hobby Airport and Bush IAH will be posted on the
XEWA web site. Information about NASA Johnson Space Center,
Clear Lake Waterfront District and Galveston Strand will be posted
as well.

To participate, please submit a 1-2 page position paper on topics
revolving around this call.  Position papers should be formatted
and submitted according to the instructions found on the workshop home
page at:

        10/30/00    Position Papers due
        11/10/00    Notification sent out
        12/13/00    Workshop begins

To cover expenses, a registration fee of $240 for IEEE members and $300
for non-IEEE members will be charged, and collected on-site at registration
time.  For any questions, contact:

		   Terence Critchlow
	           (925) 423-5682

Workshop Organizers

Program:                             Workshop:
Ron Musick                           Bob Coyne
Chaitan Baru                         Merritt Jones
Terence Critchlow
Peter Karp
Ling Liu
Tom Slezak

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