Determinative bacteriology inherently involves acquisition and manipulation of many small pieces of information. Much of this information is codable directly in binary (i.e., “yes” or “no”) form. Digital computers are uniquely suited to perform the desired data processing. Although at least one extensive coding system with some associated computer programs has been developed, much remains to be done before a universally applicable microbial data system is available. Some of these remaining computer technology tasks are the development of complete systems for data handling, data compression methods, and common specifications for data communication. Common specifications also are required for the methods for elucidating the bacterial characteristics which are to be encoded. Some classes of data cannot be coded reasonably in binary form. In such cases, different coding methods will have to be developed along with computer techniques to manipulate and analyze these classes. Some examples of these classes, each with their unique problems, are sources of isolation, nucleic acid hybridization, serological typing, and genetic mapping.


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