Last updated
Type Privately held company
Industry Bioinformatics Hardware and Software
Headquarters Carlsbad, CA, USA
Area served
ProductsDeCypher, Tera-BLAST, DeCypherSW, DeCypherHMM, GeneDetective, PipeWorks
Parent Active Motif, Inc.
Website TimeLogic

TimeLogic is the bioinformatics division of Active Motif, Inc. The company is headquartered in Carlsbad, California. TimeLogic develops FPGA-accelerated tools for biological sequence comparison in the field of high performance bioinformatics and biocomputing.



TimeLogic was founded in 1981 by James W. (Jim) Lindelien and developed one of the first commercial hardware-accelerated tools for bioinformatics, an FPGA-accelerated version of the Smith-Waterman algorithm. TimeLogic's DeCypher systems have expanded to provide accelerated implementations of the ubiquitous bioinformatics algorithms BLAST, Smith-Waterman, and HMMER using field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology.

In 2003, TimeLogic was acquired by Active Motif, [1] a biotechnology reagent company started by Invitrogen co-founder Joseph Fernandez.

In 2008, TimeLogic formed a partnership with Biomatters to integrate Geneious Pro with the accelerated algorithms on DeCypher systems. [2]

In 2011, TimeLogic formed a partnership with Bielefeld University's Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec) to jointly develop accelerated computational tools. [3]

Selected scientific contributions

Accelerated bioinformatics algorithms have played an important role in high throughput genomics, and DeCypher systems have been widely published as an enabling technology for genomic discovery in over 180 peer-reviewed scientific research articles, including the selected milestones below:

In 1997, the annotation of the first complete sequence of the E. coli K12 genome used DeCypher Smith-Waterman to determine the function of new translated sequences. [4]

In 2002, the rice genome, the first completely sequenced crop, [5] was annotated using DeCypher FrameSearch "to detect and guide the correction of frameshifts caused by indels." [6]

In 2004, a high throughput genomic approach to the study of horizontal gene transfer in plant-parasitic nematodes [7] was conducted using DeCypher Tera-BLAST, Timelogic's implementation of the BLAST algorithm.

In 2007, HMM profiling of metagenomics sequences generated by the Sorcerer II Global Ocean Sampling Expedition (GOS) were performed using DeCypherHMM to discover 1700 new protein families and matches to 6000 sequences previously categorized in scientific literature as ORFans. [8] Dr. Craig Venter credited TimeLogic in his biography, noting that the DeCypher system performed "an order of magnitude or two more than had been achieved before. The final computation took two weeks but would have run for well more than a century on a standard computer." [9]

Also in 2007, a physical map of the soybean pathogen Fusarium virguliforme was developed using exonic fragments identified with DeCypher GeneDetective. [10]

In 2011, a global assessment of the genomic variation in cattle was conducted using DeCypher Tera-BLAST "to accurately detect chromosomal positions of the SNP sites." [11]


See also

Related Research Articles

Bioinformatics Computational analysis of large, complex sets of biological data

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data, in particular when the data sets are large and complex. As an interdisciplinary field of science, bioinformatics combines biology, computer science, information engineering, mathematics and statistics to analyze and interpret the biological data. Bioinformatics has been used for in silico analyses of biological queries using mathematical and statistical techniques.

In bioinformatics, BLAST is an algorithm and program for comparing primary biological sequence information, such as the amino-acid sequences of proteins or the nucleotides of DNA and/or RNA sequences. A BLAST search enables a researcher to compare a subject protein or nucleotide sequence with a library or database of sequences, and identify database sequences that resemble the query sequence above a certain threshold. For example, following the discovery of a previously unknown gene in the mouse, a scientist will typically perform a BLAST search of the human genome to see if humans carry a similar gene; BLAST will identify sequences in the human genome that resemble the mouse gene based on similarity of sequence.

In bioinformatics, sequence clustering algorithms attempt to group biological sequences that are somehow related. The sequences can be either of genomic, "transcriptomic" (ESTs) or protein origin. For proteins, homologous sequences are typically grouped into families. For EST data, clustering is important to group sequences originating from the same gene before the ESTs are assembled to reconstruct the original mRNA.

In computational biology, gene prediction or gene finding refers to the process of identifying the regions of genomic DNA that encode genes. This includes protein-coding genes as well as RNA genes, but may also include prediction of other functional elements such as regulatory regions. Gene finding is one of the first and most important steps in understanding the genome of a species once it has been sequenced.

Smith–Waterman algorithm

The Smith–Waterman algorithm performs local sequence alignment; that is, for determining similar regions between two strings of nucleic acid sequences or protein sequences. Instead of looking at the entire sequence, the Smith–Waterman algorithm compares segments of all possible lengths and optimizes the similarity measure.

Computational genomics refers to the use of computational and statistical analysis to decipher biology from genome sequences and related data, including both DNA and RNA sequence as well as other "post-genomic" data. These, in combination with computational and statistical approaches to understanding the function of the genes and statistical association analysis, this field is also often referred to as Computational and Statistical Genetics/genomics. As such, computational genomics may be regarded as a subset of bioinformatics and computational biology, but with a focus on using whole genomes to understand the principles of how the DNA of a species controls its biology at the molecular level and beyond. With the current abundance of massive biological datasets, computational studies have become one of the most important means to biological discovery.

Multiple sequence alignment Alignment of more than two molecular sequence

Multiple sequence alignment (MSA) may refer to the process or the result of sequence alignment of three or more biological sequences, generally protein, DNA, or RNA. In many cases, the input set of query sequences are assumed to have an evolutionary relationship by which they share a linkage and are descended from a common ancestor. From the resulting MSA, sequence homology can be inferred and phylogenetic analysis can be conducted to assess the sequences' shared evolutionary origins. Visual depictions of the alignment as in the image at right illustrate mutation events such as point mutations that appear as differing characters in a single alignment column, and insertion or deletion mutations that appear as hyphens in one or more of the sequences in the alignment. Multiple sequence alignment is often used to assess sequence conservation of protein domains, tertiary and secondary structures, and even individual amino acids or nucleotides.

CLC bio

CLC bio was a bioinformatics software company headquartered in Aarhus, Denmark, and with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Tokyo, Taipei and Delhi. CLC bio's software has more than 250,000 users in more than 100 countries around the globe. CLC bio was acquired by QIAGEN in 2013, and continues to exist as a part of QIAGEN Digital Insights, the bioinformatics research and development division of QIAGEN.

BLAT is a pairwise sequence alignment algorithm that was developed by Jim Kent at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) in the early 2000s to assist in the assembly and annotation of the human genome. It was designed primarily to decrease the time needed to align millions of mouse genomic reads and expressed sequence tags against the human genome sequence. The alignment tools of the time were not capable of performing these operations in a manner that would allow a regular update of the human genome assembly. Compared to pre-existing tools, BLAT was ~500 times faster with performing mRNA/DNA alignments and ~50 times faster with protein/protein alignments.

GeneMark is a generic name for a family of ab initio gene prediction programs developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Developed in 1993, original GeneMark was used in 1995 as a primary gene prediction tool for annotation of the first completely sequenced bacterial genome of Haemophilus influenzae, and in 1996 for the first archaeal genome of Methanococcus jannaschii. The algorithm introduced inhomogeneous three-periodic Markov chain models of protein-coding DNA sequence that became standard in gene prediction as well as Bayesian approach to gene prediction in two DNA strands simultaneously. Species specific parameters of the models were estimated from training sets of sequences of known type. The major step of the algorithm computes for a given DNA fragment posterior probabilities of either being "protein-coding" in each of six possible reading frames or being "non-coding". Original GeneMark is an HMM-like algorithm; it can be viewed as approximation to known in the HMM theory posterior decoding algorithm for appropriately defined HMM.


HMMER is a free and commonly used software package for sequence analysis written by Sean Eddy. Its general usage is to identify homologous protein or nucleotide sequences, and to perform sequence alignments. It detects homology by comparing a profile-HMM to either a single sequence or a database of sequences. Sequences that score significantly better to the profile-HMM compared to a null model are considered to be homologous to the sequences that were used to construct the profile-HMM. Profile-HMMs are constructed from a multiple sequence alignment in the HMMER package using the hmmbuild program. The profile-HMM implementation used in the HMMER software was based on the work of Krogh and colleagues. HMMER is a console utility ported to every major operating system, including different versions of Linux, Windows, and Mac OS.


Blast2GO, first published in 2005, is a bioinformatics software tool for the automatic, high-throughput functional annotation of novel sequence data. It makes use of the BLAST algorithm to identify similar sequences to then transfers existing functional annotation from yet characterised sequences to the novel one. The functional information is represented via the Gene Ontology (GO), a controlled vocabulary of functional attributes. The Gene Ontology, or GO, is a major bioinformatics initiative to unify the representation of gene and gene product attributes across all species.

In bioinformatics, alignment-free sequence analysis approaches to molecular sequence and structure data provide alternatives over alignment-based approaches.

PatternHunter is a commercially available homology search instrument software that uses sequence alignment techniques. It was initially developed in the year 2002 by three scientists: Bin Ma, John Tramp and Ming Li. These scientists were driven by the desire to solve the problem that many investigators face during studies that involve genomics and proteomics. These scientists realized that such studies greatly relied on homology studies that established short seed matches that were subsequently lengthened. Describing homologous genes was an essential part of most evolutionary studies and was crucial to the understanding of the evolution of gene families, the relationship between domains and families. Homologous genes could only be studied effectively using search tools that established like portions or local placement between two proteins or nucleic acid sequences. Homology was quantified by scores obtained from matching sequences, “mismatch and gap scores”.

Non-coding RNAs have been discovered using both experimental and bioinformatic approaches. Bioinformatic approaches can be divided into three main categories. The first involves homology search, although these techniques are by definition unable to find new classes of ncRNAs. The second category includes algorithms designed to discover specific types of ncRNAs that have similar properties. Finally, some discovery methods are based on very general properties of RNA, and are thus able to discover entirely new kinds of ncRNAs.


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