Publication: Of possible cheminformatics futures
For over a decade, cheminformatics has contributed to a wide array of scientific tasks from analytical chemistry and biochemistry to pharmacology and drug discovery; and although its contributions to decision making are recognized, the challenge is how it would contribute to faster development of novel, better products. Here we address the future of cheminformatics with primary focus on innovation. Cheminformatics developers often need to choose between “mainstream” (i.e., accepted, expected) and novel, leading edge tools, with an increasing trend for open science. Possible futures for cheminformatics include the worst case scenario (lack of funding, no creative usage), as well as the best case scenario (complete integration, from systems biology to virtual physiology). As ‘‘-omics’’ technologies advance, and computer hardware improves, compounds will no longer be profiled at the molecular level, but also in terms of genetic and clinical effects. Among potentially novel tools, we anticipate machine learning models based on free text processing, an increased performance in environmental cheminformatics, significant decision-making support, as well as the emergence of robot scientists conducting automated drug discovery research. Furthermore, cheminformatics is anticipated to expand the frontiers of knowledge and evolve in an open-ended, extensible manner, allowing us to explore multiple research scenarios in order to avoid epistemological “local information minimum trap”.
Tudor I. Oprea, Olivier Taboureau, Christian G. Bologa