The Center was established in 2001 as the Center for the Study of Biological Complexity in response to dramatic advances in the life sciences due to genomic research, best known for the federally funded $3 billion Human Genome Project that identified the estimated 20,000 human genes — that is, the total human genetic parts list. Since then, genomic data has accumulated at rates that defy Moore’s Law, which predicts exponential growth in the capacity of computer chips.
Fortunately, information technologies as applied to biological problems, or bioinformatics, have advanced in parallel with genomics, and bioinformaticists have developed new technologies to process, compare and analyze the colossal new genomic data sets. These technologies have driven a paradigm shift in life science research and now permit us to apply the computational and mathematical principles of information and data science to the study of life at all scales. The center is in the process of being renamed the Center for Biological Data Science to better reflect this new direction and focus.