Monday, September 12, 2011

so long and farewell...maybe

Greetings everybody. I know it has been a long while since I posted, but it has been a busy month as I have now moved to Vietnam for the year to carry out my Fulbright grant. However, I did not want to leave my blog hanging...I wanted to write one last post. 

To reflect a little bit, I have to say this has been one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever participated in. It is hard to explain how hard it is to learn computer science just within the walls of the classroom. Even after one summer of participating in an actual project, I now feel competent to take on anything. This project has provided me a means that has proven to myself that I can actually commit something useful to a field that I love. I am excited to see where this takes me and I truly believe this experience has opened up many doors for me. 

It is neat working for an organization with many different projects going on, but all working towards a similar goal of trying to make the field of phyloinformatics more manageable and useful to scientists everywhere. It makes me excited to enter into a field that is exponentially growing.

To recap my summer:
  • I learned to set up a large complicated code base locally on my computer. 
  • I have gained a profound appreciation of the power of the nexml file and the importance of making nexml files more useful to the scientific community.
  • I learned what char sets and row segments were and why they are important to nexml. I even implemented char set functionality for TreeBASE.
  • I was able to participate in a few discussions regarding ideas about how to solve various issues for TreeBASE and fully understand the meaning of "easier said than done". 
  • I learned to not be scared of the debugger and actually debugged a bug!
  • I learned/"got my feet wet" with Firebug and trying to figure out how to make jsPhyloSVG to work for TreeBASE but it was a project that was started toward the end and never exactly finished. 
I am sure my list can go on and on regarding little odds and ends of things I learned while doing this project but I just wanted to write I a brief summary :) I want to thank Rutger and Bill, my mentors, as I was very new to a big project like this and they were extremely helpful and patient as I figured things out.  This will be my last post for my 2011 project :( It went much faster than expected. However, I do hope to continue to contribute to TreeBASE in the future :) :) :)