Standard Article

Introduction to ontologies in biomedicine: from powertools to assistants

Part 4. Bioinformatics

4.7. Structuring and Integrating Data

Introductory Review

  1. Russ B. Altman

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g408101

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Altman, R. B. 2005. Introduction to ontologies in biomedicine: from powertools to assistants. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 4:4.7:79.

Author Information

  1. Stanford University Medical Centre, Stanford, CA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005

Abstract

Computer science is a complex discipline, but at its core can be summarized as the study of two interrelated concepts: algorithms and data structures. Data structures organize information to enable algorithms to work effectively. Because algorithms seem to “do the work”, data structures are often described as secondary accessories to effective algorithms. However, in many situations, an appropriate data structure allows the associated algorithms to be very simple or even trivial. Ontologies are data structures that represent knowledge, and so can be called “knowledge structures” (Schulze-Kremer, 2002). They have received attention recently as a critical component of the computational infrastructure of biomedicine. This section of the encyclopedia is devoted to reviewing the state of the art of ontology construction and use. In this introduction, I place this work in the larger picture of biomedical computation.

Keywords:

  • ontologies;
  • knowledge representation;
  • artificial intelligence;
  • bioinformatics;
  • infrastructure