Concept: Computer software
We describe a set of best practices for scientific software development, based on research and experience, that will improve scientists' productivity and the reliability of their software.
Increasing an individual’s awareness and understanding of their dietary habits and reasons for eating may help facilitate positive dietary changes. Mobile technologies allow individuals to record diet-related behavior in real time from any location; however, the most popular software applications lack empirical evidence supporting their efficacy as health promotion tools.
Displaying chemical structures in LATEX documents currently requires either hand-coding of the structures using one of several LATEX packages, or the inclusion of finished graphics files produced with an external drawing program. There is currently no software tool available to render the large number of structures available in molfile or SMILES format to LATEX source code. We here present mol2chemfig, a Python program that provides this capability. Its output is written in the syntax defined by the chemfig TEX package, which allows for the flexible and concise description of chemical structures and reaction mechanisms. The program is freely available both through a web interface and for local installation on the user¿s computer. The code and accompanying documentation can be found at http://chimpsky.uwaterloo.ca/mol2chemfig.
An incremental, loosely planned development approach is often used in bioinformatic studies when dealing with custom data analysis in a rapidly changing environment. Unfortunately, the lack of a rigorous software structuring can undermine the maintainability, communicability and replicability of the process. To ameliorate this problem we propose the Leaf system, the aim of which is to seamlessly introduce the pipeline formality on top of a dynamical development process with minimum overhead for the programmer, thus providing a simple layer of software structuring.
The Ensembl Project provides release-specific Perl APIs for efficient high-level programmatic access to data stored in various Ensembl database schema. Although Perl scripts are perfectly suited for processing large volumes of text-based data, Perl is not ideal for developing large-scale software applications nor embedding in graphical interfaces. The provision of a novel Java API would facilitate type-safe, modular, object-orientated development of new Bioinformatics tools with which to access, analyse and visualize Ensembl data.
Mobile phone-based assessment may represent a cost-effective and clinically effective method of monitoring psychotic symptoms in real-time. There are several software options, including the use of native smartphone applications and text messages (short message service, SMS). Little is known about the strengths and limitations of these two approaches in monitoring symptoms in individuals with serious mental illness.
Artificial neural network (ANN)-based bone scan index (BSI), a marker of the amount of bone metastasis, has been shown to enhance diagnostic accuracy and reproducibility but is potentially affected by training databases. The aims of this study were to revise the software using a large number of Japanese databases and to validate its diagnostic accuracy compared with the original Swedish training database.
DNA re-identification is used for a broad suite of applications, ranging from cell line authentication to forensics. However, current re-identification schemes suffer from high latency and limited access. Here, we describe a rapid, inexpensive, and portable strategy to robustly re-identify human DNA called ‘MinION sketching’. MinION sketching requires as few as 3 min of sequencing and 60-300 random SNPs to re-identify a sample enabling near real-time applications of DNA re-identification. Our method capitalizes on the rapidly growing availability of genomic reference data for cell lines, tissues in biobanks, and individuals. This empowers the application of MinION sketching in research and clinical settings for periodic cell line and tissue authentication. Importantly, our method enables considerably faster and more robust cell line authentication relative to current practices and could help to minimize the amount of irreproducible research caused by mix-ups and contamination in human cell and tissue cultures.
Recent evidence shows that engaging in learning new skills improves episodic memory in older adults. In this study, older adults who were computer novices were trained to use a tablet computer and associated software applications. We hypothesize that sustained engagement in this mentally challenging training would yield a dual benefit of improved cognition and enhancement of everyday function by introducing useful skills.
ImageJ is an image analysis program extensively used in the biological sciences and beyond. Due to its ease of use, recordable macro language, and extensible plug-in architecture, ImageJ enjoys contributions from non-programmers, amateur programmers, and professional developers alike. Enabling such a diversity of contributors has resulted in a large community that spans the biological and physical sciences. However, a rapidly growing user base, diverging plugin suites, and technical limitations have revealed a clear need for a concerted software engineering effort to support emerging imaging paradigms, to ensure the software’s ability to handle the requirements of modern science.