WCB10:Editor's Preface

Computation has become an indispensable method for today’s bio-sciences. Many routine tasks of biological research are performed using well-established algorithms. However, the increasing complexity of studied systems demands for new computational solutions to complex and often NP-hard problems. By their ability to simplify problem modeling and to face computationally hard problems, constraint-based methods promise to contribute essentially to the Bioinformatics tool set. Many Bioinformatics problems are naturally formalized in constraint-systems over finite domains or reals. This trend emerged more than 10 years ago, witnessed by the workshops Constraints and Bioinformatics/Biocomputing associated to CP97 and CP98 and later, starting from 2005, the Workshop on Constraint based methods for Bioinformatics (briefly, WCB) series have been held regularly every year. These workshops provide an excellent overview over recent approaches for tackling Bioinformatics problems using constraint methodology. Furthermore it acts as a platform for discussion among experts in this area. Constraint techniques proved to be successful for a variety of problems. Some particular topics are sequence analysis, biological systems simulations, protein structure prediction and docking, pedigree analysis, haplotype inference.

This year, we accepted 9 strong workshop contributions out of high quality submissions. The topics comprise analysis of pedigrees, haplotypes and differentiation of species. Furthermore, alignment of RNA with complex structures, protein structure analysis and prediction, and finally, the analysis of metabolic pathways and the modeling of biological systems. Again, we observe a continuing high interest in the workshop. The diversity of topics and the reported results emphasize that constraints provide a valuable tool for bioinformatics and promise significant advance for a broad variety of applications.

We would like to thank here our colleagues Rolf Backofen, Pedro Barahona, Alexander Bockmayr, Mats Carlsson, Esra Erdem, Simon de Givry, Francois Fages, Inês Lynce, Neil Moore, and Enrico Pontelli, that accepted to be member of the Program Committee and dedicated their precious time in the reviewing phase, as well as the external reviewers Lars Kotthoff, Halit Erdogan, and Ozan Erdem, that helped us in the same stage. We also would like to thank the FLOC organization, and in particular, Veronica Dahl, Phil Scott, Bartek Klin, Nicole Schweikardt, and Andrei Voronkov, and of course all the authors that submitted a paper to this edition of the workshop. A particular thank to Alexander Bockmayr who contributed, by accepting to give the invited talk, to enrich the contents of the workshop.

Alessandro Dal Palù and Agostino Dovier are partially supported by the grants: GNCS-INdAM Tecniche innovative per la programmazione con vincoli in applicazioni strategiche, and PRIN 2008 Innovative multi-disciplinary approaches for constraint and preference reasoning.

Agostino Dovier
Alessandro Dal Palù
Sebastian Will
March 9, 2011
Udine, Parma, and Boston