Minutes of the Bioinformatics Standards Committee P1953 Meeting
Wednesday, December 15, 2004, 9:00 PST (12:00 EST) in Palo Alto, CA

Betty Cheng - (P1953 Recorder, Biomedical Informatics Training Program, Stanford University)
Bob Davis - (IEEE)
Sheri De Coronado - (National Cancer Institute)
Susanna Lewis
Peter Markstein - (Hwelett-Packard)
Vicky Markstein
Asim Siddiqui
Vincent Yau
Dan Zuros - (Advisor, IEEE)
Next meeting:
Thursday, January 6, 2005 at PSB at 5-6 PM.

Summary of Discussion

Betty started with rules and procedures and how do we get started.
Bob explained the IEEE rules. A lengthy discussion ensued.

What is the function of this group: to come up with a Roadmap and to define needed activities for Bioinformatics Standards Development such as development of a dictionary or glossary of common terms for use in standards work. Might start with other definition (Oxford medical dictionary) but must maintain our own.

Critical points: the BSC may come up with it’s own procedures to develop and validate standards. The process that GO, SO and other potential standards groups are similar in process to other IEEE Standards development efforts such as 802.11 (the wireless standard) or the floating point standard.

Part of the Standards process is the constant revision and update of the standard. In fact, a standard MUST be revised every five years or it ceases to be valid.

The Standards process must include community engagement and review.

It appears that many of the potential Standards groups already incorporate the essential features of the IEEE standards development process. New or additional steps in the standards development process would be up the SO or GO development groups.

Let’s use SO as the test case to 1) develop the rules and procedures for Standards development, 2) define the committees and structures, 3) define the vetting process, 4) release. IEEE is recognized by the American Association of Standards and International Association too. Benefits: we’ll explicitly document the SO process, which has not been done before.

Comment – Genbank uses the Asn.1 “standard”. However, those who use the schema to develop software to access find it doesn’t work. Lack of connection between the working standard and the paper version of the “standard”. There is a lack of validation.

IEEE to be the curators of the validation process? Create a test database for software developers/standards users to test their scheme and check for compliance with the standard.

Note: Congressional support for Standards and standards activities exists. As IEEE is one of the recognized Standards bodies, this facilitates access to funding for standards development.

The whole standards development process must be openly accessible. – This already exists for SO. Also BSC has planned open meetings at PSB, ISMB, CSB, as well as, open teleconferences. (check)

What is criteria for “membership” in standards development body? We could declare an existing community to be members by invitation. We could have an open meeting and all founding participants become members. We could require attendence to define active members.

IEEE offers legal protection for developers of standards–vendor neutrality.

Next meeting should be Thursday Jan 6th at PSB at 5-6 PM.

Suzanna nominated Vicky to remain Chair of the 1953 committee and Vicky nominated Suzanna to chair the subcommittee 1953.??? (we need to make up a number) on the SO development standard.

We finished up at 10:25.

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