Encyclopedia of Life Phylogenetic Tree Challenge Announced

Encyclopedia of Life Phylogenetic Tree Challenge Announced

Competition seeks tree of all life that reflects best understanding of evolutionary relationships among organisms

Washington, D.C. – February 14, 2012 –  The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is pleased to announce the EOL Phylogenetic Tree Challenge, which will help EOL provide its users with phylogenetically-informed ways to browse and retrieve information from its pages.  A first prize - sponsored travel to the iEvoBio 2012 meeting - is being offered to the individual or team that can provide a very large, phylogenetically-organized set(s) of scientific names suitable for ingestion into the Encyclopedia of Life as an alternate browsing hierarchy. 

This challenge has two core purposes:

  • It provides a testbed for the Evolutionary Informatics community to develop robust methods for producing, serving, and evaluating large, biologically meaningful trees that will be useful both to the research community and to broader audiences.
  • It enables the Encyclopedia of Life to organize the information it aggregates according to phylogenetic relationships; in other words, it provides a direct pipeline from research results to practical use. 

A second prize is offered by the Global Names (GN) project, who will award a second 2012 iEvoBio attendance prize to the project that shows great promise to scale to all clades and/or that is capable of responding quickly to new phylogenetic insights.  The number of terminal elements in the submission will not be a major consideration. Instead, GN will reward the approach that shows the greatest promise of scaling to become a comprehensive tree. GN will work with this prizewinner to help them realize their vision.

The submission period is expected to be open 20 February. Final submissions are due by 15 April 2012.  Submission instructions and detailed information about the challenge and eligibility are available online.  

To ask questions or discuss this challenge, please join the Phylogenetic Tree Challenge community on Encyclopedia of Life and post your comment to the newsfeed.

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) operates as an ongoing collaboration of individuals and organizations who share the vision to provide global access to knowledge about life on Earth. EOL is supported by founding sponsors the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  Additional support comes from EOL member institutions and donations from around the world.