The Pistoia Alliance’s Releases Latest Unified Data Model
By Bio-IT World Staff
February 26, 2020 | The Pistoia Alliance yesterday released the latest Unified Data Model (UDM) file format, Version 6, supported by funding from Biovia, Elsevier, GSK, Novartis, and Roche (recently joined by BMS). V6 delivers a stable foundation for the collection and exchange of reaction data and empowers the community to move forward with its adoption. The release is built upon standard (Allotrope-compatible) vocabularies for units of measure and analytical methods, allowing the systems to be interoperable. As increased adoption of AI and ML in R&D continues, such industry-wide data standards are essential in the move toward the digitally driven Lab of the Future (LoTF).
“The UDM is exactly the type of essential project the Pistoia Alliance was formed to work on—it enables internal and external collaboration, and ultimately helps to accelerate innovation and discovery,” said Steve Arlington, President of The Pistoia Alliance, in a press release. “Following this latest update, the project is now shifting into a support phase to help companies adopt the UDM model. Most recently we have secured additional funding from BMS to allow us to continue the project to benefit users, and we are pleased to welcome Cynthia Beno from BMS to our steering committee. We are also currently looking for additional funding in order to develop a toolkit which would bring together methods, techniques and literature to support the adoption of the UDM. If any companies would like to be involved, we encourage you to get in touch.”
The latest update of the UDM looks to primarily improve the semantics and validation of data. This is important in R&D when acronyms and words can be interchanged. Without alignment on terms and data models, great opportunities to see trends or wider patterns are missed. Standardized harmonization of data is especially important as we are seeing increased adoption of AI, and machine and deep learning, which are reliant on high quality data to improve outcomes and predictions. To continue to improve alignment in the future, the Alliance is looking to work more closely with the Allotrope Foundation, to ensure the two systems are complementary and compatible.
“At Roche, we are very excited to continue to be involved in the UDM project and we recognize its value to the research community” commented Brian Jones, Principal Scientist, Discovery Informatics at Roche and UDM Project Champion in the same statement. “It is great to have progressed the UDM to this stage, and to now move to supporting and promoting the adoption of the model.”
“It’s fantastic to see the UDM continue to develop under the project team’s stewardship, and to serve the R&D ecosystem. Elsevier donated the original UDM to the Pistoia Alliance and we hope it continues to succeed and promote collaboration in the future,” commented Tim Hoctor, Vice President, Professional Services at Elsevier and board member of The Pistoia Alliance.
Following the success of the UDM project, The Pistoia Alliance is currently developing a new project, SEED, which is complementary, and will provide guidance on the specifics of connecting a semantically enriched ELN to the FAIR principles, as well as open standards built to enable semantic tools to seamlessly connect to all ELNs. Looking to the future, the UDM project team will continue to support the UDM and look to develop the adoption toolkit.