In the past, I used the terms “bioinformatics” and “computational biology” somewhat interchangeably. I don’t do that anymore.
- Bioinformatics is about reusable tools and information resources for biology.
- Computational Biology is about biological insight.
It’s not necessarily a distinction between two different types of person. I know plenty of people who can do either type of work, building tools and then using them in their science. That said, people do seem to sort themselves to focus either on tool building or else on hypothesis testing.
The distinction is important because the metrics of project success are different, because we should manage projects and teams differently based on those metrics, and because career advancement and mentoring diverges rapidly between the two.
As always, I’m interested in your feedback, particularly if you disagree with me!