Blog Archives

My day out at #osddmalaria

May 10, 2012
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My day out at #osddmalaria

Finally, I get around to telling you that… …on Friday 24th February, I took a day out from my regular job to attend a meeting on Open Source Drug Discovery for Malaria. I should state straight away that whilst drug discovery and chem(o)informatics are topics that I find very interesting, I have no professional experience

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R gotcha for the week

March 15, 2012
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R gotcha for the week

I use the biomaRt package from Bioconductor in almost every R session. So I thought I’d load the library and set up a mart instance in my ~/.Rprofile: On starting R, I was somewhat perplexed to see this error message: Twitter to the rescue. @hadleywickham told me to load utils first and @vsbuffalo explained that

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Simple plots reveal interesting artifacts

March 14, 2012
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Simple plots reveal interesting artifacts

I’ve recently been working with methylation data; specifically, from the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 bead chip. It’s a rather complex array which uses two types of probes to determine the methylation state of DNA at ~ 485 000 sites in the genome. The Bioconductor project has risen to the challenge with a (somewhat bewildering) variety of

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A Friday round-up

December 1, 2011
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A Friday round-up

Just a brief selection of items that caught my eye this week. Note that this is a Friday as opposed to Friday, lest you mistake this for a new, regular feature. 1. R/statistics ggbio A new Bioconductor package which builds on the excellent ggplot graphics library, for the visualization of biological data. R development master

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Interacting with bioinformatics webservers using R

September 8, 2011
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Interacting with bioinformatics webservers using R

In an ideal world, all bioinformatics tools would be made available via the Web as a web service with an API, as well as a standalone package to download for local use. This is rarely the case and sometimes, even where one or the other is available, factors such as cost come into play. So

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Popular topics at the BioStar Q&A site

August 23, 2011
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Popular topics at the BioStar Q&A site

Which topics are the most popular at the BioStar bioinformatics Q&A site? One source of data is the tags used for questions. Tags are somewhat arbitrary of course, but fortunately BioStar has quite an active community, so “bad” tags are usually edited to improve them. Hint: if your question is “How to find SNPs”, then

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ISMB coverage on Twitter? It’s possible there was…

July 31, 2011
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ISMB coverage on Twitter? It’s possible there was…

Peter writes: I wonder if part of the drop off is live bloggers moving to platforms like Twitter? I can tell you it seemed like there were almost as many tweets for one SIG (#bosc2011) as for the whole of #ISMB / #ECCB2011, and I personally didn’t post anything to FriendFeed but posted lots on

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I can’t resist a word cloud: now using R!

July 28, 2011
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I can’t resist a word cloud: now using R!

The wordcloud package is word clouds for R with a difference: they look great. Of course, having just analysed online coverage of the ISMB conference, I had to run all 6 906 comments from the 2008-2011 meetings through some code. If you followed along via the Sweave code, I went as far as generating the

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Analysis of ISMB coverage at FriendFeed: 2008 – 2011

July 27, 2011
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Analysis of ISMB coverage at FriendFeed: 2008 – 2011

ISMB/ECCB 2011 was held between July 15-19 this year and as in previous years, FriendFeed was used to cover the meeting. Last year, I wrote a post about how to use R to analyse the coverage. I was planning something similar for 2011 when I thought: we have 4 years of ISMB at FriendFeed now

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R: calculations involving months

July 7, 2011
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R: calculations involving months

Ask anyone how much time has elapsed since September last year and they’ll probably start counting on their fingers: “October, November…” and tell you “just over 9 months.” So, when faced as I was today with a data frame (named dates) like this: How to add a 7th column, with the number of months between

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