Patrick O'Neill hosted one of our most popular events last February. He's finally recovered from that trauma, and is back to delve a little more deeply into Bioinformatics. This is a huge opportunity for computer scientists, cryptographers, and coders to get a hands-on introduction to some of the most challenging problems of our time. This will be the first of at least 4 sessions, and it would be great to try to come prepared. Contact Patrick if you need some help in this preparation (see below). Here are Patrick's words (except for the Tribbles bit, used with apologies):
Much like Kirk with the exponentially multiplying Tribbles, Biology is drowning in data: DNA sequencing has become so cheap that individual scientific projects can generate hundreds of billions of sequenced bases, and it will soon be possible to sequence an entire human genome for under 1000 dollars. There is already more biological data than any human being could ever interpret in a lifetime, so our only hope of making sense of this deluge will be to analyze it automatically.
In this introductory course we'll learn bioinformatics by example through the programming challenge website Project Rosalind. By writing our own code to solve biological problems, we'll learn how molecular biology and computer science can complement each other in the pursuit of novel scientific and algorithmic discoveries.
In this class we (read: you!) will be writing Python programs. This means you will need Python installed on your computer along with some sort of text editor. Linux or MAC OSX is strongly, strongly recommended. If you use a Windows machine, my advice is to set up a dual boot system for a linux distribution. (Detailed guides can be found online, e.g. here. If you are already comfortable programming in Windows you're welcome to do so, but I may not be able to help with OS-related issues if you get stuck. If you are new to programming, linux is even more strongly recommended.
To check to see that you have satisfied the technical pre-requisites, create an account on Project Rosalind and solve the first problem. If you get stuck, consult excercise 0 of Zed Shaw's excellent book Learn Python the Hard Way.
Students are highly encouraged to bring a laptop to class.
Some previous exposure to either computer science or molecular biology will be helpful, but a strong interest in problem-solving is the only real prerequisite. Bioinformatics is a contact sport, and it is impossible to practice it without writing code. This may take more or less time depending on previous experience. Nevertheless, if understanding these topics (http://rosalind.info/problems/topics/) appeals to you we will try to find a way to make it happen.
I can by reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and am happy
to answer any questions.
Once again the cost of this event is whatever donation you deem appropriate to keep things like this happening. Please RSVP HERE
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