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Archive for the ‘cheminformatics’ Category

A New Round of Lightning Talks

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With the 2011 Fall ACS meeting coming up in Denver next month, CINF will be hosting another round of lightning talks – 8 minutes to talk about anything related to cheminformatics and chemical information. As before, these talks won’t be managed via PACS, as a result of which we are taking short abstracts between July 14 and Aug 14.We hope that we’ll get to hear about interesting and recent stuff. Remember, this is meant to be a fun event so be creative! (You can see slides from the first run of this session last year).

The full announcement is below:

For the 2011 Fall meeting in Denver (Aug 28 – Sep 1), CINF will be running an experimental session of lightning talks – short, strictly timed talks. The session does not have a specific topic, however, all talks should be related to cheminformatics and chemical information. One of the key features of this session is that we will not be using the traditional ACS abstract submission system, since that system precludes the inclusion of recent work in the program.

So, since we will be accepting abstracts directly, the expectation is that they be about recent work and developments, rather than rehashes of year-old work. In addition, talks should not be verbal versions of posters submitted for this meeting. Given the short time limits we don’t expect great detail – but we are expecting compact and informative presentations.

That’s the challenge.


  • Talks should be no longer than 8 minutes in length. At 8 minutes, you will be asked to stop.
  • Use as many slides as you want, as long as you can finish in 8 minutes
  • Talks should not be rehashes of poster presentations
  • Talks will run back to back, and questions & discussion will be held of off until the end

If you haven’t participated in these types of talks before here are some suggestions:

  • No more than three slides for a 5 minute talk (but if you can pull of 20 slides in 8 minutes, more power to you)
  • Avoid slides with too much text (and don’t paste PDF’s of papers!)
  • A single chart per slide and make sure labels are readable at a distance


1:30pm, Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Submissions run from July 14 to Aug 14


Room 112, Colorado Convention Center


  • Send in an abstract of about 100 – 120 words to
  • We will let you know if you will be speaking by Aug 21 and we will need slide decks by Aug 24
  • You must be registered for the meeting
  • Note that the usual publication/copyright rules apply
  • We will encourage live blogging and tweets (if we have net access)

Written by Rajarshi Guha

July 22nd, 2011 at 4:28 am

Posted in cheminformatics

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New Versions of rcdk & rcdklibs

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With the recent stable release of the CDK (1.3.12) and the inclusion of the new rendering classes, I was able to make a new release of the rcdk (3.1.1) and rcdklibs (1.3.11) packages that support cheminformatics in R. They’ve been pushed to CRAN and should be visible in a day or two. The new features in the latest version of rcdk include

  • Directly evaluate molecular volume (based on group contributions) using get.volume
  • Generate fingerprints using the hybridization state
  • and work sensibly
  • Added a function ( that copies the 2D depiction of a molecule to the system clipboard in PNG format
  • Now, OS X users can view and copy molecule depictions. This is slower compared to the same operation on Windows or Linux since it involves shell’ing out via system. But it is better than not being able to view anything.

Written by Rajarshi Guha

June 18th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Posted in cheminformatics,software

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The CDK Volume Descriptor

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Sometime back Egon implemented a simple group contribution based volume calculator and it made its way into the stable branch (1.4.x) today. As a result I put out a new version of the CDKDescUI which includes a descriptor that wraps the new volume calculator as well as the hybridization fingerprinter that Egon also implemented recently. The volume descriptor (based on the VABCVolume class) is one that has been missing for the some time (though the NumericalSurface class did return a volume, but it’s slow). This class is reasonably fast (10,000 molecules processed in 32 sec) and correlates well with the 2D and pseudo-3D volume descriptors from MOE (2008.10) as shown below. As expected the correlation is better with the 2D version of the descriptor (which is similar in nature to the lookup method used in the CDK version). The X-axis represents the CDK descriptor values.

Written by Rajarshi Guha

June 17th, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Posted in cheminformatics,software

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New Version of fingerprint

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I’ve submitted version 3.4.3 of the fingerprint package to CRAN, so it should be available in a day or two. It’s an R package that lets you read in (chemical structure) fingerprint data from a variety of sources (CDK, MOE, BCI etc) and perform a variety of operations (bitwise, similarity, etc.) and visualizations on them.

The two main additions to this version are

  • Read support for the new FPS fingerprint format described by Andrew Dalke at the chemfp project. Note, it currently discards some of header information
  • The fingerprint class now has a field, misc, (a list) that allows one to read in extra, arbitrary data that might be provided along with a fingerprint. Exactly what gets stored in this field depends on the line function used to read in the fingerprint data. Currently only the FPS parser returns extra data (when available) in this field.

As always, you can get the package source directly from the Github repository.

Written by Rajarshi Guha

June 3rd, 2011 at 12:13 am

Posted in cheminformatics

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MIOSS Workshop Wrap Up

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The last few days I’ve been at the EBI, attending the Molecular Informatics Open Source Software (MIOSS) workshop. As part of this trip to the UK, I’ve also had the opportunity to present some of the work my colleagues and I have done at the NCTT – thanks to Mark Forster for the invitation to speak at Syngenta and to John Chambers for having me speak to the ChEMBL group. At the workshop I presented my work on cheminformatics in R.

The focus of the workshop was to bring OSS developers and users from industry and academica/government together to hear about a variety of projects and discuss issues underlying the development and use of these projects. There were some very nice presentations – I won’t go into too much detail but some highlights for me included

  • Kevin Lawson (Syngenta) presented his work on LICSS – integrating the CDK with Excel. While I’ not a fan of Excel, it’s a necessary evil. I was quite surprised at the performance he acheived for substructure searches within Excel and the ability to access various functionalities of the CDK as Excel functions. While it probably won’t replace Accord or ChemOffice right now, it’s something to take a look at.
  • Mike Bodkin (Lilly) spoke about the use of KNIME at Lilly. They have built up an extensive collection of commercial and OSS nodes and it’s clear that KNIME is capable of giving Pipeline Pilot a run for its money. Thorsten Mienl then spoke of the OSS development of KNIME, and mentioned that they now support a collection of HCS and image analysis nodes (courtesy MPI Dresden). This is quite interesting, given that we’re ramping up our HCS capabilities at the NCTT
  • Hans de Winter of Silicos spoke about the tools and services that their company has produced on top of OpenBabel (and contributed back to the community). Quite encouraging to see a cheminformatics company making money of the OSS stack
  • Greg Landrum spoke about RDKit, presenting the RDKit based catridge for Postregsql. He showed some nice performance numbers and it was nice to see that they had gotten the coders who implemented the GiST indexing mechanisms to implement a GiST index for binary fingerprints.

In addition to these, there were other talks on Openbabel, Cinfony, Taverna, fpocket and others. While I’ve known about many of these projects it was useful to learn some of the details from the developers themselves.

A number of issues surrounding OSS development and use were discussed. For example, community development was regarded as a key factor in the success of OSS projects. Erik Lindahl of GROMACS fame, spoke about the development model of GROMACS and how important their success has been due to community involvement. Some other issues included the importance (and lack of) good documentation, what makes people contribute to OSS and so on.

The fact that industry participation was about 50% of group was nice. And a number of industry-related issues also arose. For example, there were several discussion of business models based around OSS and how they can feed back into OSS projects. A commen thread seemed to be that service and customization of OSS are good approaches to building businesses around the OSS stack, Silicos and Eagle Genomics being two prime examples.

The fact that there are industry users of OSS as well as industry members contributing back to OSS projects was very encouraging. An idea supported by a number of participants was some form of web site / wiki where such contributors and users could list themselves. (IMO, the Blue Obelisk wiki, could be a candidate for this type of thing).  Sure, there’d be usually corporate and legal barriers to this type of thing, but if done would have a number of benefits – encouragement for project developers and easily viewable precedent that would encourage other companies to use or participate in OSS projects, resulting in a positive feedback loop. With various pre-competitive collaboration efforts (e.g., Pistoia Alliance) popping up in the pharma industry, this is certainly possible.

Finally, it’s always good to meet up with old friends and also meet people whom I’ve only known over email. The social aspects of the workshop were very nice – helped greatly by excellent food and drink! Thanks to Mark for putting together a great meeting.

Written by Rajarshi Guha

May 6th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Posted in cheminformatics

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