Launch of Via Science & the Importance of Big Data

by jtaylor on November 18, 2010

Colin Hill is the founder of GNS Healthcare, one of the first systems biology informatics companies, and Fina Technologies, a GNS spinout to apply their core informatics to the finance industry.  In a recent move to expand the technology platform underpinning these companies, Hill has launched a parent group Via Science.  As stated on Via Science’s website:

Via Science creates and applies next-generation machine learning and simulation platforms to ‘big data’ problems across a spectrum of industries. The mission of Via Science is fulfilled by incubating and launching market-leading companies led by visionary domain experts.

This is a particularly interesting push on Hill’s part, emphasizing the requirement for sophisticated algorithms to handle complex data types in many industries.  GNS’ core technology is termed “reverse engineering/forward simulation” (REFS) technology and uses a series of analytical approaches to integrate large data sets followed by automated iterative modeling and hypothesis testing.  It’s my understanding that the platform includes techniques from network informatics, machine learning, and others (please correct me if I’m wrong).

In regards to the biological sciences and biotechnology, this cross industry approach emphasizes some key points:

  • biological systems are inherently complex and require immense amount of data and sophisticated algorithms to properly analyze
  • biology is becoming evermore a data driven endeavor
  • tools and techniques for understanding complex systems apply to many fields, with real overlap in the biological sciences, financial sciences, supply-chain management, consumer marketing, etc.

Definitely an interesting platform good to see biology is becoming an application of informatics instead of the other way around.

Related reading: Xconomy Boston Article on Via Science

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