The Microsoft Biology Foundation

As most of you may know, Microsoft – and in particular the folks at Microsoft (External) Research – have started to make major inroads into developing tools for scientists, be that in the area of scholarly communication with a repository offering as well as an ontology plugin for Word or in chemistry with Chem4Word, which is currently being developed by Joe Townsend, Jim Downing and Peter Murray-Rust here at Cambridge and the team at Microsoft External Research.

Now they have also announced a first version of the Microsoft Biology Foundation. From the announcement:

“The Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF) is a language-neutral bioinformatics toolkit built as an extension to the Microsoft .NET Framework. Currently it implements a range of parsers for common bioinformatics file formats; a range of algorithms for manipulating DNA, RNA, and protein sequences; and a set of connectors to biological Web services such as NCBI BLAST. MBF is available under an open source license, and executables, source code, demo applications, and documentation are freely downloadable […]”

Now every time Microsoft gets involved in something like this, it is bound to generate discussion and debate, such as happened around Chem4Word (see here and links contained in this). I, for one, am happy about every constructive and open contribution to the canon of scientific tools available to the community and welcome the news.

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