Monday, August 20, 2007

Phyloinformatics Summer of Code Meetup at NESCent

At the end of last week the NESCent SoCoders all met up in Durham, NC for a wrap up conference. It was really neat to see what others had been doing all summer long. The diversity of projects was to be expected, though there were some common threads between us.

One message that was hammered home to me was the need for file standards in evolutionary biology. The amount of time spent massaging your data into different formats to interface with interesting programs is many times prohibitive to actually using the programs. I was struck by all the development going on with NEXUS (ex: Nexplorer, NEXML, and libraries for NEXUS) in particular, and I feel like I need to jump on this bandwagon too! I was quick to realize that I'm part of the problem in that PhyloGeoViz currently doesn't accept NEXUS (or anything else for that matter besides my own special format). Well, being able to work with NEXUS files is now on the top of my list of priorities.

Another common theme of the meeting was the visualization of tree data. Multiple projects were coming at this problem using different languages and in different contexts.

A great meeting! I had a lot of fun hearing other students' and mentors' experiences. Hope to run into you again soon!

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