Programs in bioinformatics, offered in many academic institutes, are assumed to expand women’s representation in computer science (CS). Women’s enrolment in these programs is high; Our questions are: Do these programs attract different women from those attracted to CS programs? What factors underlie women’s decision to enroll in bioinformatics programs? How do these factors differ from those of women who choose CS, if at all? What career opportunities do these women anticipate and pursue? Using questionnaires and interviews, we found a statistically significant difference between the factors that motivate women to choose bioinformatics and others to study CS. Many bioinformatics students did not consider CS as an alternative. Post-facto they learned to love computing, albeit with a biology-oriented purpose. “Computing with purpose” underlies many participants’ pursuit of careers in research, CS, and bio-tech. We thus conclude that bioinformatics programs do indeed expand women’s representation in CS.
The aim of this work is to present extended informatics paradigm (EIP). This paradigm expands concept of informatics from traditional information and communication technologies (ICT) to a wide use of informational thinking, databases and related technologies in biology and psychology. The essential difference of EIP is an especial attention to nature and purpose of information in organized biological and/or psychological systems. Information as a phenomenon appeared on the Earth 3-4 billion years ago, when the life originated. Informatics paradigm considers the physical and chemical transformations of energy and matter as flows that are controlled, or as the signals for purposive informational control programs. Brain as product of biological evolution accomplishes a quick information processing, thinking and psychical activity. The information is born in control systems of organized systems. The organized systems are represented as informational closed-loop coding-decoding structures. Therefore, the scope of bioinformatics which is generally taught as a skill to deal with biological data bases should be extended, as well as the subject of informational psychology.