n2c2—National NLP Clinical Challenges—is an outgrowth of the former i2b2 Center—Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside. The n2c2 name was chosen to evoke this history.
i2b2 was an NIH-funded National Center for Biomedical Computing (NCBC) based at Partners HealthCare System in Boston from 2004 to 2014. Led by Principal Investigator Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD, and Executive Director Susanne Churchill, PhD, the center was a passionate advocate for the potential of existing clinical records to yield insights that directly impact healthcare improvement. Recognizing the value locked in unstructured text, i2b2 provided sets of fully deidentified notes from the Research Patient Data Repository (RPDR) at Partners for a series of NLP Shared Task challenges and workshops.
These challenges and workshops were designed and led by Özlem Uzuner, PhD, MEng, originally at MIT CSAIL and subsequently at SUNY Albany. The deidentified notes and products of the challenges were then made available to the community for general research purposes, and have already enabled hundreds of journal and conference articles.
With the end of the i2b2 project, the challenges and data sets came under the stewardship of the Harvard Medical School Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI), where Drs. Kohane and Churchill are now Chair and Executive Director, respectively, and the initiative was dubbed n2c2. Dr. Uzuner continues to direct the activities of n2c2. She is now Associate Professor of Information Sciences and Technology in the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University.
Previously accessed through the i2b2.org website, the challenges and data sets are now administered through the DBMI Data Portal.
The software development component of the former i2b2 Center is now under the direction of the i2b2 tranSMART Foundation, a member-driven non-profit foundation developing an open-source / open-data community around the i2b2, tranSMART and OpenBEL translational research platforms.