We are recently witnessing a surge of interests in the use of natural language processing techniques for biology and medicine, the most notable ones coined together as ¡°literature mining in biomedicine¡±. These interests have also been hosted by a number of international meetings, such as a dedicated series of sessions at PSB, SIG meetings at ISMB, satellite workshops and special sessions at ACL and COLING, and the symposium on semantic mining in biomedicine. The list certainly keeps expanding, properly reflecting the increasing demand for the NLP techniques in biology and medicine. However, we find that the present directions for the use of NLP techniques need further diversification, so that the pressing issues in biology and medicine receive more lateral and creative treatments. For this purpose, we believe that it is vital to bring out the synergistic interactions to the full among the conference participants with different methodological backgrounds for various languages in biology and medicine.
In an answer to this need, we announce the international symposium on Languages in Biology and Medicine, to be held in conjunction with the 4th Korea-Singapore joint workshop on bioinformatics and NLP at KAIST in South Korea from the 24th to the 26th of November, 2005. To provide a common ground for interaction among the participants, the symposium will focus on the languages that are in active use for biology and medicine, including not only natural language but also sequence language, database language, ontology language, logic language, and visualization language. It is not that these languages received inadequate exposure; to the contrary, the sequence language, or "the language of genes" has for example received quite an attention by the "grammar" community from the perspective of language modeling of biological data. It is just that perhaps in part due to the overemphasis on the "mining" aspect of the research, and in part due to the complexity issues and the consequent loss of directionality, the possibility of achieving synergistic interactions across methodological disciplines and across different languages is not yet sought for.
The invited speakers include Vladimir Bajic at the South African National Bioinformatics Institute and the Institute for Infocomm Research in Singapore, Nigel Collier at the National Institute of Informatics in Japan, Udo Hahn at Jena University in Germany (keynote), Satoshi Kobayashi at the University of Electro-Communications in Japan, See-Kiong Ng at Nanyang Technological University and the Institute for Infocomm Research in Singapore, and Alfonso Valencia at Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia in Spain (keynote). The symposium is organized in part by the funding from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation through Advanced Information Technology Research Center (AITrc), and chaired by Jong C. Park at KAIST and Limsoon Wong at the National University of Singapore. For further details and developments of the symposium, please refer to its homepage (http://lbm2005.biopathway.org). The symposium will consist mainly of invited talks and panel discussion, but it will also host a limited number of paper presentations with an open call for papers and an appropriate medium for publication. The news of the symposium will be announced in this homepage as well as the LBM2005 mailing list.