My New Years Resolution(s)

New Years’ Resolutions: meaningless, silly and forgotten by February. With that in mind, and in no particular order, here’s mine for 2013:

1) Begin learning a functional programming language (Clojure, Haskell, ML, OCaml or other) — I’m really interested in functional programming for several reasons, some more sensible than others. Nowadays I spend a lot of time using R and the functional aspects are powerful and intuitive for mathematical programming, so a deeper understanding of the FP paradigm will likely improve my grasp of R. More importantly I expect FP to become more important as parallelisation becomes evermore vital in ‘big data’ computational biology.


Clojure anyone?

Also, as a purely academic exercise, I think lambda calculus frames an aesthetically pleasing syntax and fosters interesting programming approaches. Lastly (and perhaps least importantly) I think it could be a quirky and interesting addition to my CV, as well as making me a more “well-rounded” programmer — for all that’s worth.

2) Develop my informal science writing — While regular blogging is on the backburner for now, I still think it’s important to practice writing about science for a general audience. One way of doing this is through competitions, such as that recently run by Europe PubMed Central, which I always seem to bookmark but not get around to entering. So note to self: follow up with these this year.

3) Work on web development — I’ve never made a true web app or used javascript or PHP in anger, but I’m increasingly aware that this is something I’ll need to get to grips with sooner or later. I’ve got a testing account for the new RStudio glimmer web server which servers Shiny apps, so there’s an easy way to get started.

In line with this resolution, I also plan to tie down some actual real estate: a nice domain name and some hosting which would presumably encourage both my web development and blogging. I’m particularly interested in the new .bio general top-level domains which are due for release in 2013; presumably they’re designed for biographies but could also work well for a biologist such as myself 😉

4) There’s more to life than a PhD — keep this in mind.

Edinburgh castle – awesome picturesque scene a lot closer to the city centre than you might think.[1]


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