Origin of the Term Q-bio

The paragraph below is excerpted from Nemenman I, Hlavacek WS, Edwards JS, Faeder JR, Jiang Y, Wall ME (2008) Editorial: Selected papers from the First q-bio Conference on Cellular Information Processing. IET Syst Biol 2: 203-205.

"During the course of planning and preparing for the conference, the organisers began using the term 'q-bio' to succinctly refer to research efforts directed at predictive modelling of cellular regulatory systems. This term eventually became part of the conference name. Besides the economy of expression afforded by this jargon, the organisers were attracted to the term for several reasons. First, ‘q-bio’ is an abbreviation of ‘quantitative biology’, a term that aptly describes a distinguishing feature of the type of work that the conference aims to advance. The development of predictive models is often dependent on quantitative experiments. Second, the reference ‘quantitative biology’, a long used term, recognises that the type of work emphasised at the conference is not new, although it does seem to be reaching a new level of maturity as technological advances allow biological systems to be probed and monitored quantitatively with unprecedented control, scope, and resolution. Finally, ‘q-bio’ is something of a nod to pioneering efforts in science that have started or caught fire in Los Alamos, such as scientific computing. The term ‘q-bio’, to the best of our knowledge, was first used by Paul Ginsparg as the name of one of the archives in the physics e-print server, arXiv.org, which began its existence in Los Alamos and provided a visionary model of open scientific publishing. We use ‘q-bio’ in the name of the conference with the permission of Ginsparg and the arXiv.org project, now at Cornell University. The name reflects a hope that the conference will help spark a revolution that will bring the prominence of quantitative work in biology up to the level of that in fields such as chemistry and physics."