Recent successes in defining the roles of lipids in cell signaling have stimulated greater interest in these versatile biomolecules. Until recently, analysis of these molecules at the species level has required labor-intensive techniques. The development of electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) has made possible the detection and identification of thermally labile biological molecules, such as phospholipids. The "soft" ionization does not cause extensive fragmentation, is highly sensitive, accurate, and reproducible. Thus, this method is well suited for analyzing a broad range of phospholipids without elaborate chromatographic separation. Evaluating the vast amounts of data resulting from these measurements is a rate-limiting step in the assessment of phospholipid composition, requiring the development and application of computational algorithms for mass spectrometry data. Here we describe computational lipidomics, a novel analytical technique, coupling mass spectrometry with statistical algorithms to facilitate the comprehensive analysis of hundreds of lipid species from cellular extracts. As a result, lipid arrays are generated to indicate qualitative changes that occur in lipid composition between experimental or disease states, similar to proteomic and genomic analyses. This review presents a methodological strategy for using ESI-MS combined with a high-power computational analysis to profile time-dependent changes in cellular phospholipids after the addition of an agonist or to evaluate changes promoted by pathophysiological processes. As an illustration, we describe the methods and approaches used to generate lipid arrays for The Alliance for Cellular Signaling (AfCS). These arrays are contributing to a more complete understanding of the participants of cellular signaling pathways after activation of cell surface receptors.