Bioinformaticians show off their Sudoku skills at ISMB

Last week BioMed Central exhibited at the 17th International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) & 8th European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB) in Stockholm, where 1,400 delegates descended upon Stockholm International Fairs.

ISMB/ECCB is a great opportunity for us to meet with researchers who have published in our bioinformatics journals, such as BMC Bioinformatics and BMC Systems Biology. Many delegates were excited to see our new Impact Factor of 3.71 for BMC Systems Biology and the imminent launch of our latest independent journal, Journal of Biomedical Semantics.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of our time at the conference was the Sudoku challenge on Thursday morning where delegates raced each other to finish a Sudoku puzzle in the fastest time to win a Nintendo DS. For the three days leading up to the event various delegates had guaranteed that they had what it takes to win the prize but there could only be one winner. Crowds started to gather as early as 9.30am with competitors keen to locate the best possible spot to take the challenge. By 10am a 30-strong crowd took over the BioMed Central stand all eager to win the Nintendo DS though it is fair to say that some participants (possibly students) were more interested in receiving free notepads.

10.15am and the race was underway, the atmosphere was tense and the exhibition hall deadly quiet. Five minutes into the competition and the participants were still madly scribbling away, others looking lost in thought. Two minutes later a challenger stepped forward, looking confident and relaxed, could this be our Sudoku champion? A thorough examination of his completed puzzle confirmed he was indeed the winner, finishing in seven minutes exactly. Congratulations go to Arthur Hsu (pictured) from WEHI Bioinformatics in Australia for his seriously impressive Sudoku skills.

So that concludes our time at ISMB/ECCB, it was great meeting so many of you and we look forward to seeing you again at future conferences.

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