The International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB; http://www.iscb.org) presents the Seventeenth Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB), organized jointly with the Eighth Annual European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB; http://bioinf.mpi-inf.mpg.de/conferences/eccb/eccb.htm), in Stockholm, Sweden, 27 June to 2 July 2009. The organizers are putting the finishing touches on the year's premier computational biology conference, with an expected attendance of 1400 computer scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, biologists and scientists from other disciplines related to and reliant on this multi-disciplinary science. ISMB/ECCB 2009 (http://www.iscb.org/ismbeccb2009/) follows the framework introduced at the ISMB/ECCB 2007 (http://www.iscb.org/ismbeccb2007/) in Vienna, and further refined at the ISMB 2008 (http://www.iscb.org/ismb2008/) in Toronto; a framework developed to specifically encourage increased participation from often under-represented disciplines at conferences on computational biology. During the main ISMB conference dates of 29 June to 2 July, keynote talks from highly regarded scientists, including ISCB Award winners, are the featured presentations that bring all attendees together twice a day. The remainder of each day offers a carefully balanced selection of parallel sessions to choose from: proceedings papers, special sessions on emerging topics, highlights of the past year's published research, special interest group meetings, technology demonstrations, workshops and several unique sessions of value to the broad audience of students, faculty and industry researchers. Several hundred posters displayed for the duration of the conference has become a standard of the ISMB and ECCB conference series, and an extensive commercial exhibition showcases the latest bioinformatics publications, software, hardware and services available on the market today. The main conference is preceded by 2 days of Special Interest Group (SIG) and Satellite meetings running in parallel to the fifth Student Council Symposium on 27 June, and in parallel to Tutorials on 28 June. All scientific sessions take place at the Stockholmsmässan/Stockholm International Fairs conference and exposition facility.