The BioCompute Draft Standard

A major goal of the BioCompute project is to build a formal standard through recognized, accredited standards setting organizations like the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the International Standards Organization (ISO). A formal, consensus-based standard builds predictability into the way in which bioinformatic methods are communicated. The process of building a standard is shown below, along with our current position. The current version of the draft schema can be found here.

One benefit of a formal standard is its ability to act as a base standard. Various organizations can build off of this document to create dependent standards for specific applications. This is similar to different versions of WiFi based on usage, such as the 802.11a standard for fast speed, but high cost and shorter range, or the 802.11b for slower top speed, but lower cost -- both of which are built on the 802.11 base standard. The base standard can even be used for internal references for sensitive workflows not published outside the organization.


A Project Authorization Request (PAR) launches a standards development process, and the PAR for BioCompute (p2791) was approved on June 14th, 2018. The Working Group was formed with Raja Mazumder as its Chair, Vahan Simonyan as its Vice Chair, and Jonathon Keeney as its Secretary. The draft specification passed Mandatory Editorial Committee (MEC) review and sponsor society review (the Engineering in Medicine and Biology, in our case, or EMB), and was sent for ballot. The balloting process requires a supermajority of 75% approval to pass, with at least a 75% response rate to be valid. The p2791 ballot closed on May 18th, 2019, with an 86.0% response rate, and an 84% approval rate. A Comment Resolution Group (CRG) was formed on May 9th, 2019, and is currently addressing all of the comments received during balloting. The comment resolution phase can be tracked in real time at the GitLab repository.