Motivation: Heterogeneity of databases and software resources continues to hamper the integration of biological information. Top-down solutions are not feasible for the full-scale problem of integration across biological species and data types. Bottom-up solutions so far have not integrated, in a maximally flexible way, dynamic and interactive graphical-user-interface components with data repositories and analysis tools.

Results: We present a component-based approach that relies on a generalized platform for component integration. The platform enables independently-developed components to synchronize their behavior and exchange services, without direct knowledge of one another. An interface-based data model allows the exchange of information with minimal component interdependency. From these interactions an integrated system results, which we call ISYS

. By allowing services to be discovered dynamically based on selected objects, ISYS encourages a kind of exploratory navigation that we believe to be well-suited for applications in genomic research.

Availability: A ‘developer’s kit’ for creating software that uses the ISYS platform is available at www.ncgr.org/research/isys/devrel.html. It includes a more refined and fully documented version of the platform and a starting set of ISYS-ready components. Up-to-date descriptions of the ISYS project can be found at www.ncgr.org/research/isys.

Contact: isys@ncgr.org


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