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"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
- Robert Heinlein

Ideator  
  A computer device specifically made to help model genes and proteins for identification.  

In this novel, Bear describes the future of the children created in Darwin's Radio. There is a lot of future thinking about the study of microbiology; it comes up as the protagonists try to study an illness that affects these children.

Everything on and around the benches was hooked up to a small, square, bright red Cenomics Ideator, a dedicated computer capable of 3-D imaging and real-time gene and protein description and identification.

There was more than a wealth of equipment here: what Dicken saw as he walked around the room amounted to obscene overkill for a typical school medical facility. He had visited labs in rich biotech firms that wouldn't have been able to compete.

"Wow," Dicken said in awe... he walked between the benches, then paused to reach out with his gloved hand and stroke the Ideator. He had his riverboat. He had everything he needed to track the virus back up the river of disease to the far, frozen north - to its sleeping, glacial form.

From Darwin's Children, by Greg Bear.
Published by Del Rey in 2003
Additional resources -

In looking around for anything else on this item, I did find what appears to be a (failed) computer-aided design product called an Ideator.

I found a very cool tool called ProtoShop (nicely backformed on Photoshop, the image manipulation tool). Here's what it does:

One of the grand challenges in computational biology is the prediction of the three-dimensional structure of a protein from its chemical makeup alone. A protein's primary structure, i.e., its amino acid sequence, is directly encoded in its DNA sequence; this, however, is a purely one-dimensional structure that does not directly encode a three-dimensional shape...

Our work focuses on providing an interactive, visual tool - dubbed ProtoShop - to rapidly create many initial configurations for a given amino acid sequence, which are then submitted to an optimization algorithm...

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Darwin's Children
  More Ideas and Technology by Greg Bear
  Tech news articles related to Darwin's Children
  Tech news articles related to works by Greg Bear

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