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This issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development focuses on the growing field of systems biology. While the precise definition of the term “systems biology” is continually undergoing refinement and is open for discussion, researchers agree that the vast quantities of data generated by high-throughput biology, and related techniques used to study living systems, ensure that computation and computers will play an ever-increasing role in biological research. This computer-based approach gives systems biology researchers the opportunity to investigate the ways in which various kinds of data interrelate in order to go beyond an understanding of individual parts to an understanding of the function of larger biological systems. Using computational tools, the computational biologist analyzes, models, and simulates biological systems. Biology, once considered primarily as an observational science, has become quite quantitative.
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