A discussion of computational biology has to start with a pioneer of the field, Alan Turing, especially in this centennial year of his birth. He introduced us to the digital computer and proposed that much biology could be described by mathematical equations—the number of spirals in a sunflower is a Fibonacci number and pattern formation in animal skins can be described by a reaction diffusion model. Turing lacked the data and the computing power to substantiate his models. Today, the availability of vast quantities of new data, together with striking advances in computing power, is promising to give us new insights into the mechanisms of life. This special section, together with related content in Science Signaling and Science Careers, highlights recent advances and outstanding challenges.
Does It Compute?
Valda Vinson, Beverly A. Purnell, Laura M. Zahn, John Travis
Science 13 April 2012: Vol. 336 no. 6078 p. 171