Computational biology is enabling an explosive growth in our understanding of stem cells and our ability to use them for disease modeling, regenerative medicine, and drug discovery. We discuss four topics that exemplify applications of computation to stem cell biology: cell typing, lineage tracing, trajectory inference, and regulatory networks. We use these examples to articulate principles that have guided computational biology broadly and call for renewed attention to these principles as computation becomes increasingly important in stem cell biology. We also discuss important challenges for this field with the hope that it will inspire more to join this exciting area.
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