Structural Informatics Group
University of Washington
The University of Washington Structural Informatics Group is an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists, engineers and biologists, with emphasis on the development of methods for representing, managing, visualizing and utilizing information about the physical organization of the body. (Description from SIG website.)
Goals (from the SIG website)
- To develop methods for representing both spatial and symbolic information about the physical organization of the body.
- To develop Web-accessible computer programs which utilize these representations to solve practical problems in clinical medicine, research and education.
- To initially apply these representations to the domain of gross anatomy, and to develop applications in education, clinical medicine and research.
The Foundational Model of Anatomy
What it is:
- The ideological basis for most of the group's work.
- A classification system for anatomy, consisting of a set of hierarchies. Each hierarchy represents a kind of relationship between anatomical concepts: "part of", "branch of", "contained in", etc.
- An anatomical database, consisting of a set of anatomical concepts. Each concept is like an instance of a class, and contains its own information and its relationships to other concepts: definition, dimensions, parts, branches, etc.
- To organize anatomical information, which is widely scattered, organized in conflicting ways, and sometimes even contradictory.
- To develop a powerful system that could be extended to other uses, too.
- Most currently, the FM uses a frame-based database system developed at Stanford, called Protege.
- Having the information is all well and good, but users need ways of being guided through it. They have two kinds of guides: symbolic and spatial.
- Symbolic guides are conceptual and text-based.
- Spatial guides are visual and graphics-based.