The Microsoft Biology Initiative (MBI) is a combined project in Microsoft Research focused on two components: the Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF) and the Microsoft Biology Tools (MBT). Both the framework and the tools are related to the areas of computation biology, genomics, and bioinformatics. 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.
Microsoft Research has released Beta 1 of MBF, including a version that runs on .NET 4 Beta 2 and that’s using Parallel Extensions to provide impressive speedups on some new algorithms that have been added in the release. From the release notes:
“Support for .NET Parallel Extensions. In addition to the complete Beta 1 version of the project being released, we are also providing the Beta 1 – Dev10 Preview release. This version of the code and binaries are utilizing the latest in technology improvements in the .NET 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 release. The inclusion of a novel multiple sequence alignment algorithm, PAMSAM, provided as an example of how this technology can be used to turn a commodity desktop computer into a valuable research asset.”
If you’re interested in bioinformatics, definitely check this out.