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HCLS task forces

From: M. Scott Marshall <mscottmarshall@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2011 14:03:18 +0200
Message-ID: <BANLkTik0i-fLXG56osefFi80+zpV61TDyg@mail.gmail.com>
To: HCLS <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
Today is a holiday in much of Europe so I won't be able to make it to
the HCLS telcon. I will try to supply my input to the anticipated

I will attempt to *briefly* summarize what the currently active task
forces are doing:

Scientific Discourse - planning a demonstration of linking literature
to experiments
BioRDF - working on a W3C note for expression RDF
Linked Open Drug Data (LODD) - working on a W3C note for emerging best
practices in life sciences RDF / linked data
Translational Medicine - pharmacogenomics modeling, biomarkers
Terminology - using an RDF representation of clinical reports from
radiology and pathology to alert clinicians to discrepancies

It is nice to know that several products of HCLS activities and
Semantic Web have been applied across the board. Specific industrial
examples include Iker's Semantic Web company (see
TripleMap http://triplemap.com/, Collabrx http://collabrx.com/, IO
Informatics http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/sweo/public/UseCases/IOInformatics/.
All of these examples enable personalized medicine. I don't think that
there will be a 'killer app' that 'launches' the Semantic Web. Just as
happened with XML, the day will come when the same critical mass is
reached - when people realize that most of them are using RDF to
exchange data as the obvious technology choice. As RDF versions of
each important data type become available along with plugins for the
most popular applications, it will become easier to employ linked data
for dynamically customized interfaces and visualizations.

I would characterize our approach to forming task forces as bottom-up
aggregation of interests expressed by teleconference participants.
Generally, the people who have worked together in a given task force
have stuck together and started new activities because imposing a
reshuffle of the deck and the ensuing re-synchronization would have
disrupted ongoing work in some task forces.

A few observations:
* Motivation for participants seems to have been publication - other
than altruism and the thrill of creating the next phase of scientific
* In general, an emphasis on building applications and demonstrations
helps to ground discussions that can quickly become too abstract to
lead to concrete actions.
* A bottleneck remains getting access to actual data to validate our
methods and tools

Many of us have expressed interest in personalized medicine in the
last year. If you define personalized medicine as the application of
molecular knowledge about a particular patient to tailor therapeutic
choices for that patient, it is simply the future of medicine. And the
future isn't very far away.


M. Scott Marshall, W3C HCLS IG co-chair, http://www.w3.org/blog/hcls
Received on Thursday, 2 June 2011 12:03:46 UTC

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