Book: Reviews in Computational Chemistry, Reviews in Computational Chemistry, Volume 18
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
This volume, like those prior to it, features chapters by experts in various fields of computational chemistry. Topics covered in Volume 18 include molecular modeling, computer-assisted molecular design (camd), quantum chemistry, molecular mechanics and dynamics, and quantitative structure-activity relationships (qsar).
After our first publisher produced our first volume and we were in the
process of readying manuscripts for Volume 2, the publisher’s executive editor
innocently asked us if there was anything in the field of computational chemistry
that we had not already covered in Volume 1. We assured him that there
was much. The constancy of change was noted centuries ago when Honorat de
Bueil, Marquis de Racan (1589–1670) observed that ‘‘Nothing in the world
lasts, save eternal change.’’ Science changes too. As stated by Emile Duclaux
(1840–1904), French biologist and physician and successor to Louis Pasteur in
heading the Pasteur Institute, ‘‘It is because science is sure of nothing that it is
always advancing.’’ Science is able to contribute to the well-being of mankind
because it can evolve. Topics in a number of important areas of computational
chemistry are the substance of this volume.
Cheminformatics, a term so new that scientists have not yet come to an
agreement on how to spell it, is a facet of computational chemistry where the
emphasis is on managing digital data and mining the data to extract knowledge.
Cheminformatics holds a position at the intersection of several traditional
disciplines including chemical information (library science), quantitative
structure-property relationships, and computer science as it pertains to managing
computers and databases. One powerful way to extract an understanding
of the contents of a data set is with clustering methods, whereby the mutual
proximity of data points is measured. Clustering can show how much similarity
or diversity there is in a data set. Chapter 1 of this volume is a tutorial on
clustering methods. The authors, Drs. Geoff M. Downs and John M. Barnard,
were educated at the University of Sheffield—the veritable epicenter and
fountainhead of cheminformatics. Each clustering method is described along
with its strengths and weaknesses. As frequent consultants to pharmaceutical
and chemical companies, the authors can knowledgeably point to published
examples where real-world research problems were aided by one or more of
the clustering methods.