what software do biologists need?

Raul Valdes-Perez valdes+ at CS.CMU.EDU
Fri Mar 19 10:22:28 EST 1993

In article <1993Mar19.100010.77935 at embl-heidelberg.de>, rice at embl-heidelberg.de (Peter Rice) writes:
|> In article <C4390H.493.1 at cs.cmu.edu>, valdes+ at CS.CMU.EDU (Raul Valdes-Perez) writes:
|> > We should keep in mind the old joke about bad marketing:
|> > to determine the demand for a new bridge, go to the river
|> > and count how many people swim across.  The analogy is not
|> > exact, but the spirit is similar.
|> But a biologist would ask: Why are they swimming across?

But, there is nobody at all swimming across.

|> Biological methods may not be an easy way to answer this question, but if the
|> computer scientists build a bridge it just makes them cross faster but gives no
|> understanding of why they are doing it.

They are doing it to provide easy access to the other side.  They better
do their homework first, and figure out that the other side is connected
to something real, and not to an imaginary place.  And they better make sure
that the bridge can sustain various loads, and not just exactly 73.5 kg.
If you want to ensure that result, then give these bridge builders some
advice for the greater good of world transportation, even if you never 
thought of building a bridge there yourself, and even if it competes with
your cousin's taxi-gondola business.

|> This perhaps explains why computer scientists approached the problem of
|> lemmings by writing a game. Population control would be a better way to keep
|> the numbers down (of lemmings that is, not computer scientists - we need
|> evidence of a genetic cause to identify their parents before we go that far :-)
|> At least they didn't build a bridge across the North Sea...


|>  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|>  Peter Rice, EMBL                             | Post: Computer Group
|>                                               |       European Molecular
|>  Internet:    Peter.Rice at EMBL-Heidelberg.DE   |            Biology Laboratory
|>                                               |       Postfach 10-2209
|>  Phone:   +49-6221-387247                     |       W-6900 Heidelberg
|>  Fax:     +49-6221-387306                     |       Germany

Raul E. Valdes-Perez		    valdes at cs.cmu.edu
Carnegie Mellon University	    (412) 268-7127

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