- Paperback: 538 pages
- Publisher: Sinauer Associates is an imprint of Oxford University Press; First edition (November 5, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0878933913
- ISBN-13: 978-0878933914
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 1 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Practical Computing for Biologists First Edition
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"Practical Computing for Biologists is a clear guide to methods that unlock the power of the personal computer. Although the breadth of subjects covered is certainly an asset of this volume, what really makes the book stand out is how well the authors clearly describe each technique and its applicability to biological sciences. It is a great launching point for any necessary further investigation of computational techniques."
--Matthew Aiello-Lammens, The Quarterly Review of Biology
"The book covers a wide range of subjects that truly justifies the title of 'practical computing.' In addition to the usual programming-related topics, it also includes a thorough introduction to the programming environment, approaches to combining different programs together, a description of the basic text manipulation tools such as regular expressions, and even an introduction to dealing with digital art and images. As such the book is great value for the money, being at least three books in one."
--Olga G. Troyanskaya, Cell
"My copy of Practical Computing for Biologists arrived last week, and I've been very impressed. It is a well-written, well-paced guide to basic computing skills for scientists and engineers of all stripes (not just biologists). It is beautifully produced: full-color printing and great graphical design make this book a joy to read. If I ever do turn Software Carpentry into a book, I might skip the topics PCB covers and just tell people to go and buy it."
--Greg Wilson, software-carpentry.org
"When considering my research and use of time, this book has been the most important book I've read in the last year, and perhaps the last decade. Striking a perfect balance by guiding you through tutorials and nudging your own self-exploration, the book has just enough guided direction to not annoy or overwhelm. It has helped (and is still helping) me to do what I was doing before, but more efficiently."
--Cyme & Cystidium
About the Author
Steven H.D. Haddock is a Research Scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and adjunct Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, studying bioluminescence and biodiversity of gelatinous zooplankton. He started programming in BASIC on an Apple ][ and began his undergraduate studies in engineering before deciding to change fields. He took this programming background with him to his graduate studies in Marine Biology, where he quickly realized the advantages that computing skills offered and felt compelled to help foster these abilities in others. He has developed many utilities and devices for research, including instruments to monitor bioluminescence from fireflies, a freezer monitoring system, a web-based conference registration database, and a PCR calculator for smartphones. In addition to teaching invertebrate zoology and writing a booklet to teach the technique of blue-water scuba diving, he has given tutorials in computing to students and administrators. His interest in education extends to his Bioluminescence Web Page (http://lifesci.ucsb.edu/~biolum/) and the Jellywatch.org citizen-science website (www.jellywatch.org).
Casey W. Dunn, a Professor at Yale University, does research that has a large computational component but always in conjunction with work in the field and lab. His first interest in computers stemmed from building electronics, and he further developed his computational skills working in Silicon Valley while an undergraduate. As his data sets grew larger and larger during grad school and his postdoc, he found himself reaching back to his computer background more often. In the course of his own research and helping other biologists with their computational challenges, he became concerned about the mismatch between training opportunities and the real day-to-day computational problems biologists face. In addition to teaching invertebrate biology, evolution, and development, his educational activities include the websites siphonophores.org and creaturecast.org. Dr. Dunn is the recipient of the National Science Foundation's 2011 Alan T. Waterman Award, recognizing an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by NSF.
Top customer reviews
THIS BOOK MADE ME SHINE!
One of the exercises in the book involves using building a program using regular expressions to modify the format of lat/lon data into a .kml-readable format.
Guess what my employer asked me to do today?
Yup, manually reformat hundreds of lines of lat/lon data.
It took me 20 minutes instead of tedious hours, and I was paid for completion of the job, not the hours.
In science, it is all about efficiency and building a better mouse-trap. This book teaches you all the great shortcuts to stand out in a competitive field of study.
THANK YOU PCfB!!!!!
I am a biochemistry and molecular biology graduate who is learning BioPy and R to aid in my ability to process and understand large data sets. I've been reading books on python and bioinformatics, but they are often either too cryptic or too basic. Until I found PCfB, I couldn't find a book that got to the real meat of bioinformatics and biological data processing/management.
If you are pursuing higher education in science, buy this book. Seriously, put this book into your cart now.
Now that advanced computer skills are in great demand by employers in scientific disciplines, I really think a course involving this material should be mandatory in any undergraduate chemistry or biology department. But it isn't, so buy this book and catch up. This is the information they should have taught you in college.
PCfB is probably best for people who have a basic understanding of computers. The book is neither written for experts nor for novices and fits well at the college level. It provides sufficient detail and complex examples without interjecting excess esoteric programming theory.
The only downside is that the book is catered towards OSX/UNIX, but to be fair, the authors include how to run commands on windows and linux.
This book was recommended to me by a number of biology graduate students that used in it seminar-style courses on bioinformatics. I had no previous experience with programming and was pretty intimidated by programming and computing in general. However, this book helped me get over that fear quickly! It builds a strong foundation in a variety of computational methods (particularly programming in python). With this foundation I was able to take advantage of a lot of online resources that were previously beyond my understanding. In this book, I quickly learned a number of basic strategies for data collection and analysis that would have saved me weeks of work had I known how to employ them earlier in my graduate career. I'm glad I know them now and I look forward to building on the skills I developed with this book!