In 1989, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications was barely three years old, its first massively parallel computer, Connection Machines' CM-2, was just being installed, and physics professor Klaus Schulten, newly arrived at the University of Illinois, launched the Theoretical Biophysics Group (TBG). His overarching vision was to use the analytical tools of physics and chemistry, coupled with the horsepower of increasingly robust and sophisticated computers, to elucidate the organization and functioning of biological systems.
The TBG, now the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group (TCBG), on September 21st, will celebrate its 20 years of achievements in characteristic Schulten fashion, by looking forwardnot back.
"The idea that is important to convey," stresses Schulten, "is not how many atoms we've simulated or how many processors we've employed, but the discoveries we will now be able to make. I've worked for 20 years to get to this pointto have the potent tools capable of addressing fundamental questions of how proteins assemble themselves and work in concert with other proteins to create living systems. In 1989, we could barely model the structure of a single simple protein. Now we are beginning to be able to model how biological molecules arrange themselves into increasingly complex assemblies that can communicate with one another and function collectively as teams to move, to change, to adapt, to become alive."
"Computational BiologyThe Next Decade," the TCBG's 20th anniversary symposium, will be far from a retrospective of past achievements. Instead, it will bring together more than 200 researchers from more than 30 institutions for three full days of talks, posters, and intense discussions about the future of their discipline. Topics will range from the treatment of slow and complex conformal transitions to the challenges of petascale computing.
ABOUT THE THEORETICAL AND COMPUTATIONAL BIOPHY
|Contact: Celia Elliott|
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign