Several data banks around the world are accumulating DNA sequences at a feverish rate, with tremendous potential for furthering our knowledge of how biological systems code and pass on information. The sophisticated mathematical analysis of that data is just beginning. The Eighteenth Annual Symposium on Some Mathematical Questions in Biology was held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the AAAS and brought together speakers knowledgeable in both biology and mathematics to discuss these developments and to emphasize the need for rigorous, efficient computational tools.These computational tools include biologically relevant definitions of sequence similarity and string matching algorithms. The solutions for some of these problems have great generality; the string matching methods first developed for biological sequences have now been applied to areas such as geology, linguistics, and speech recognition. There is a great potential here for creating of new mathematics to handle this growing data base, with new applications for many areas of mathematics, computer science, and statistics.
Unresolved problems in DNA sequence analysis by W. M. Fitch Pattern recognition in DNA by P. H. Sellers Probability distribution for DNA sequence comparisons by M. S. Waterman Some probabilistic and statistical problems in the analysis of DNA sequences by S. Tavare RNA folding prediction: the continued need for interaction between biologists and mathematicians by M. Zucker.