Concise, practical and useful - computing for Biologists.....
Extracts from the book: "Bioinformatics is the science of using information to understand biology; it's the tool we can use to help us answer these questions and many others like them. Unfortunately, with all the hype about mapping the human genome, bioinformatics has achieved buzzword status; the term is being used in a number of ways, depending on who is using it. Strictly speaking, bioinformatics is a subset of the larger field of computational biology , the application of quantitative analytical techniques in modeling biological systems. In this book, we stray from bioinformatics into computational biology and back again. The distinctions between the two aren't important for our purpose here, which is to cover a range of tools and techniques we believe are critical for molecular biologists who want to understand and apply the basic computational tools that are available today.
The field of bioinformatics relies heavily on work by experts in statistical methods and pattern recognition. Researchers come to bioinformatics from many fields, including mathematics, computer science, and linguistics. Unfortunately, biology is a science of the specific as well as the general. Bioinformatics is full of pitfalls for those who look for patterns and make predictions without a complete understanding of where biological data comes from and what it means. By providing algorithms, databases, user interfaces, and statistical tools, bioinformatics makes it possible to do exciting things such as compare DNA sequences and generate results that are potentially significant. "Potentially significant" is perhaps the most important phrase. These new tools also give you the opportunity to overinterpret data and assign meaning where none really exists. We can't overstate the importance of understanding the limitations of these tools. But once you gain that understanding and become an intelligent consumer of bioinformatics methods, the speed at which your research progresses can be truly amazing."
Developing Bioinformatics Computer Skills offers an in-depth yet clear insight into the techniques, IT resources and skills of computational biology with special focus on its application to gene sequencing. Unashamedly majoring on the open Linux/Unix platform, the fundamentals of data analysis, database management and straightforward system administration are all covered - O'Reilly have provided a wonderful reference for Computing in the Natural Sciences.
The book will help biologists, researchers, and students develop a structured approach to biological data and the computer tools they'll need to analyze it. The book covers the Unix file system, building tools and databases for bioinformatics, computational approaches to biological problems, an introduction to Perl for bioinformatics, data mining, data visualization, and tips for tailoring data analysis software to individual research needs.
'... the authors have produced a book which really is a 'must read' for the newcomer to bioinformatics'. European Bioinformatics Institute
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