Lawrence Hunter, David Searls, and Jude Shavlik

The name of the gathering archived in these proceedings, the "First International Conference on InteUigent Systems for Molecular Biology," was carefully worded and bears some exegesis. To begin with, there is an obvious element of optimism in the use of the word "First." The organizers were confident that this would indeed be the inauguration of a continuing series of such meetings, based upon the growing level of participation in a number of predecessor colloquia of various types (including AAAI Symposia and Workshops). This optimism was fully justified by the response. Nearly 70 papers were received from around the world, as well as hundreds of inquiries. In the judgment of the editors, the submissions were of high quality for a new conference in a field not yet well established. Funding agencies were also enthusiastic, in part because of groundwork laid in a preliminary meeting to promote the development of infrastructure in this new sub-field of computational biology (jointly sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and the National Library of Medicine and attended by many on the program committee). The success of this particular aspect of that effort is evidenced by the planning already underway for the second conference in the series.

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