Vital-IT is an innovative project designed to connect fundamental and applied research, and development and training in the field of molecular bioinformatics. It is a collaboration between partners with highly complementary competences: the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), the Universities of Lausanne, Geneva and Basel, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Hewlett Packard Company and Intel Corporation. These institutions and companies provide an unrivalled alliance of expertise in the processing and analysis of biological information, fundamental science and leading edge technology for the development of a high profile, innovative and robust computational biology platform. Vital-IT's core activity is not basic research, which is conducted primarily by its partners, but rather the provision of infrastructure to support this research, and the development of hardware and software solutions that will allow the results of the research to be turned into products with added value. Additionally, the group serves as an interface between academic research and its users and customers in the commercial world.