Are "computational biology" and "bioinformatics" simply different terms for the same thing or is there a real difference?
I found this post by Russ Altman quite good. Below is his opinion about the two similar but distinct fields:
Computational biology: the study of biology using computational techniques. The goal is to learn new biology, knowledge about living sytems. It is about science.
Bioinformatics: the creation of tools (algorithms, databases) that solve problems. The goal is to build useful tools that work on biological data. It is about engineering.
Just as a note:
This is just one persons opinion and I have heard many other definitions for both of these terms. For example, one person I know mentioned that he believes computational biology is concerned with very theoretical research such as NP-hardness (ie. articles published in the Journal of Computational Biology). Other people think that bioinformatics is an applied field that is essentially using already published tools.Tweet