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SICSA Summer School
Statistical Inference in Computational Biology
Edinburgh, 14-18 June 2010


Technological advances in the life sciences are producing vast amounts of data describing organisms at all levels of organisation. The impact of this on Informatics and the Computational Sciences has been enormous: the new disciplines of computational biology and bioinformatics were born to organise and model these data, and are now some of the fastest growing and most exciting areas in computer science. In the proposed Summer School, we will concentrate on the statistical and machine learning approach to biological data modelling, particularly Bayesian Statistics. The ability to formally combine prior knowledge with experimental data and properly distinguish competing hypotheses based on the evidence present makes Bayesian Statistical Inference (SI) ideal for the type of problems found in experimental Biology. The school will consist of six 4 hour modules, each delivered by an expert of international standing over five days. The first two sessions will serve as an introduction to multi-variate and Bayesian statistics respectively with a leaning towards the tools required in Computational Biology. The remaining sessions will cover four of the main inference tasks in Computational Biology - network reconstruction, inference within models of biological processes, inference in phylogenetics and phenotype-genotype associations to explain genetic diseases.

A skeleton outline of the proposed session reads as follows:

Target audience

The primary target audience of the school are PhD students from non life-sciences background who are now working within Computational Biology, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology. Another important target audience are PhD students and postdocs working in quantitative biology, who may want to learn more about computational and statistical modelling approaches. Scotland has several world-leading centres of excellence in the area: to mention but a few, the Informatics Life Sciences Institute and the Centre for Systems Biology at Edinburgh (University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University), the department of Computing Science, doctoral training centre in the Sir HenryWellcome functional genomics utility and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Glasgow, or the Systems Biology centre at the University of Aberdeen.

Location and dates

The school will be held in Edinburgh from June, 14th to June, 18th. The workshop will be hosted at the National eScience Centre (NeSC), Edinburgh with accommodation provided in the nearby Pollock Halls.


For more information, email