Sunday, March 25, 2018

1 Cyclotron Road

I've recently started working as a contractor for the BBOP group at Lawerence Berkeley National Labs.  To my son's great disappointment (and probably my father's as well) I am not working with the cyclotron, but instead am now working with the Gene Ontology (GO) project.  I am involved in a transition that might be put most simply as a migration from 'GO as a gene tagging system' to 'GO as an activity flow modeling system'.  For a preview of what the new approach looks like see a MAP kinase cascade example on the nascent GO Causal Activity Modeling environment (AKA Noctua).

Though it is a departure from the last 10+ years of working on crowdsourcing in bioinformatics, its also a much needed re-centering of focus around the core reasons why I got involved in crowdsourcing in the first place.  I have this crazy notion that knowledge, once ripped at great cost from nature's powerful grasp, should be cherished, shared, and used in the production of more knowledge.  All of the crowdsourcing work was originally motivated by the goal of finding new, potentially better, ways to make that process happen.  I'm still interested in finding ways to include (much) larger audiences in the process of curating and growing our collective knowledge base.  But, for now, I am happy and proud to have the opportunity to simply dig in with my own hands to help take the GO to the next level.

Perhaps someday (like maybe when my youngest starts kindergarten..) I will have a chance to cross the semantic and social web streams once again.