In the last two decades, many computer scientists in Artificial Intelligence have made significant contributions to modeling biological systems as a means of understanding the molecular basis of mechanisms in the healthy and diseased cell. In particular, the field of computational structural biology is now highly populated by researchers in evolutionary computation. Great progress is being made by these researchers on novel and powerful algorithms to solve exceptionally challenging computational structural biology problems at the heart of molecular biology, such as structure prediction, analysis, and design of biological macromolecules (proteins, RNA). These problems pose difficult search and optimization tasks on modular systems with vast, high-dimensional, continuous search spaces often underlined by non-linear multimodal energy surfaces.
The focus of this workshop is the use of nature-inspired approaches to central problems in computational structural biology, including optimization methods under the umbrella of evolutionary computation. A particular emphasis will be on progress in the application of evolutionary computation to problems related to any aspects of protein structure modeling, characterization, and analysis. The workshop will allow for a broader focus on all structure-related problems that necessitate the design of novel evolutionary computation approaches. These may include broader structure modeling settings beyond de novo structure prediction, such as mapping of protein and peptide energy landscapes, structure analysis, design, docking, and other emerging problems in computational structural biology.
Following the previous edition in GECCO 2015, one of the objectives of this workshop is to aid evolutionary computation researchers to disseminate recent findings and progress. The workshop will provide a meeting point for authors and attendants of the GECCO conference who have a current or developing interest in computational biology. We believe the workshop will additionally attract computational biology researchers that will further add to the attendance and GECCO community and possibly spur novel collaborations. We hope this workshop will stimulate the free exchange and discussion of novel ideas and results related to structure-central problems bridging computational biology and evolutionary computation.
Areas of interest include (but are not restricted to):
• Use of artificial life models like cellular automata or Lindenmayer systems in the modeling of biological problems.
• Study and analysis of properties of biological systems like self-organization, emergent behavior or morphogenesis.
• Multi-objective approaches in the modeling of computational biology problems.
• Use of natural and evolutionary computation algorithms in protein structure classification and prediction (secondary and tertiary).
• Mapping of protein and peptide energy landscapes.
• Modeling of temporal folding of proteins.
• Protein design.
• Protein-ligand and protein-protein docking.
• Evolutionary search strategies to assist cryo-electron microscopy and other experimental techniques in model building.