Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Programmer's Perspective

There are many analogies describing the human genome as the program that runs a computer. Jim Stalker, the Senior Scientific Manager in charge of vertebrate resequencing informatics at the Sanger center eloquently described what that really means in his “Obligatory Tenuous Coding Analogy” during the Perl lightning talks at this year's OSCON conference.

The genome is the source of a program to build and run a human
But: the author is not available for comment
It’s 3GB in size
In a single line
Due to constant forking, there are about 7 billion different versions
It’s full of copy-and-paste and cruft
And it’s completely undocumented
Q: How do you debug it?


I thank Jim for sharing his slides. Post a comment if you think you know the answer. Jim’s slides will be posted at the O’Reilly OSCON slide site.

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