The Human Genome Project has won the prestigious Platinum Technology 21st Century Partnership Pioneer Award at the Computerworld Smithsonian Award Gala in Washington D.C. This has been made public by the Computer Associates International company that recently has acquired Platinum Technology International Inc. This award specifically honours the organizations which partner across industries, geographic and competitive boundaries to make useful contributions to the world. The Human Genome Project is a collaboration of hundreds of scientists worldwide dedicated to deciphering and mapping the genetic code of human beings.
Scientists from around the world, including Dr. Ari Patrinos of the United States Department of Energy, Dr. Francis Collins of the National Institutes for Health, Drs. Michael Morgan and Barbara Skene of the United Kingdom-based Wellcome Trust, Dr. David Galas of Keck Graduate Institute, Dr. Charles DeLisi of Boston University, as well as Dr. Yoshiyuki Sakaki of the University of Tokyo, gathered in Washington D.C. to accept their awards from Andrew Filipowski, president and Chief Executive Officer of Platinum, prior to its acquisition by Computer Associates.
The language of human genetics is a language we do not speak yet. If not for the fact that biologists have attached the familiar letters C, G, T and A to the four base pairs that encode our inheritance, the language would seem totally foreign. That is now changing because the Human Genome Project is rapidly assembling the complete "text" of a set of human chromosomes to comprehend the role of individual genes. The goal of the Human Genome Project is to find the location of the 100.000 human genes and to read the entire genetic script, consisting of 3 billion bits of information, by 2005.
All of the information is placed immediately into the public domain, where it is easily accessible to scientists worldwide through the Internet or CD-ROM. Understanding the complete set of genes, known as the human genome, will shed new light on such phenomena as how human beings develop and how diseases like cancer and diabetes can be diagnosed, treated and prevented. The extreme complexity of the project requires the application of information technology, including supercomputers and advanced databases, to identify and catalogue patterns within large sequences of genetic information.
These patterns are then used for generating genetic maps, which will enable scientists to identify the components of the genome. Launched in 1990, the project is supported in the United States by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy. Scientists involved with the project claim it is the most important scientific endeavour of all time, exceeding even such accomplishments as the Manhattan Project and the first man on the moon. Technologies created as part of the Human Genome Project will have broad impact in sustainable development and environmental cleanup, according to Dr. Patrinos.
Platinum was one of eight Chairmen's Committee members which partnered with Computerworld magazine and the Smithsonian Institution to establish and fund the 21st Century Pioneer Awards. The Partnership Award is one of these honours. An independent panel of esteemed business and education leaders nominated the Partnership applicants and ultimately has selected the Human Genome Project as the best example of a global partnership for setting new standards for excellence in the Information Age.
The members of the 1999 nominating committee included:
- William Clifford, President & Chief Executive Officer, Gartner Group;
- Elizabeth Corcoran, Bureau Chief, Silicon Valley Bureau, Forbes;
- Nancy Evans, Co-Founder, Co-Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, iVillage;
- William D. Friel, Senior Vice President, Chief Executive Officer, Prudential;
- Paul Krugman, professor, MIT;
- Eric Nee, Senior Writer, Fortune;
- Robert Salvucci, President, SAP America Public Sector, Inc.;
- Susan Unger, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, DaimlerChrysler AG;
- Marc N. Weiss, Founder and Executive Producer, Web Lab/NYFA