Building A LAMP Stack For The Life Sciences

Posted in Conferences, Companies, Operating Systems, Development on February 01, 2007


Building A LAMP Stack For The Life Sciences

It is commonplace to regard health crises, sickness, malnutrition, famine and natural resource collapse as overwhelming problems of our world, typically associated with poverty.

Rather, they are symptoms of a more fundamental failing in how we deal with the world, and to whom we give the tools to engage. Four billion poor people are not just a problem, they are world's greatest resource for problem solving. What we lack are the norms, the tools and the mechanisms to harness and empower their commitment, their drive, their local knowledge and their creativity. But this is within our grasp.

In this presentation, I will outline the real origins of Open Source - not the recent phenomenon in software development, but the very foundation of all of civilization: plant and animal domestication and breeding. Virtually every key element of productive, economically savvy Open Source innovation was developed and presaged by millenia of plant breeders and farmers who created the wealth upon which society is based. The engine room of civilization has been agriculture, but the fuel has been shared innovation.

The problem is not solely multinational corporations gaming the patent system and the associated business practices. It is also the failure of public sector to engage creatively with their responsibilities.

I will describe how the patent system has evolved (if indeed we can grace such an accretion of carbuncles with that glorious biological process) and how business practices and models are groaning under the weight of its excesses. I will also describe the enormous potential of modern informatics to parse and integrate this information so that anyone can understand and appreciate the landscape upon which innovation must operate, and can guide new business models that use shared and accessible tools to create myriad applications, products and services.

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