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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Monday August 06, 2001
01:49 PM


[ #626 ]
One of the delights of the Open Source Convention was the attendance at the Open Source Bioinformatics session by Per Jambeck. Bioinformatics is the computer programming work done to support biology research, in particular the gene sequencing stuff that the Human Genome Project is working on.

Open Source is important there, because (being scientist) most everyone believes that human gene data shouldn't be hoarded and patented, but should be freely known and open for research and use in drug production. It's long been observed that science and open source share many of the same values, and it's very true in biotech right now.

Since the conference, I've been reading up on the biology and computer science behind bioinformatics, which is the first real learning I've done in about 8 years (and boy do I feel both old and stupid right now). Actually, Jon Orwant has been reading up, and I've been trying to play catch-up to him. It's not easy, because his wife has a PhD in biology. Mine has most of a masters in civil engineering for space habitats ... not quite so convenient for bioinformatics research :-)

I'll see how well I studied at the Bioinformatics Conference that O'Reilly's putting on next year. It's in late January in Tucson (whee, I get to escape the snow!) and should be a blast (not least because Damian Conway's talking about attending ...)

That, and a quick trip to Boston for the funeral of our editor-in-chief, is what's been on my mind lately. We're also selling our house (buying a bigger one--we currently have 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 860 sq ft, and have four people in the house with more to come. ENOSPACE!) so life's crazy right now.

Ok, enough talking. Back to learning how to pronounce drosophila melanogaster ....