March 3, 2017

What does Eagle actually do?

Good question! I've been asked it a few times this morning so here's an attempt at a quick overview. Metaphors will abound.

This morning I'm in Boston, MA, attending a programming event for open source bioinformatics. This is a good example of the group of people that Eagle hopes to support through its work by establishing close relationships with the academics and other developers of the fantastic range of software and datasets available in this field. But writing this code isn't what we do - instead, we help others use it.

Having my breakfast coffee and bagel (America does bagels so well...) this morning before coming here to the Harvard Medical Library, I was sat outside watching the Boston Duck tour buses go by. I realised that they're a pretty good analogy to the way Eagle works, in a strange sideways-thinking kind of way.

Tourist buses charge tourists a few dollars to drive them round the main city sights. But why can't the tourists take themselves around? The tourists could perfectly well go see these things themselves - they've got maps, they've got guidebooks, and they're probably perfectly capable of looking up the interesting historical snippets on Wikipedia on their iPhones as they walk along. But this is a lot of work! Tourists haven't got the time to do all this research and legwork - they're on holiday, their time is too valuable to waste - so they pay for tickets on tour buses who do all the work for them. The buses don't do anything they couldn't eventually work out themselves, and the sights they're taken to would have been free to see otherwise from the sidewalk, but the convenience of having everything sourced in one place with expert guides to help you make the most of your journey is worth paying the money for.

That's like Eagle. Anyone can work out which open-source bioinformatics software or data might be useful to their work. Anyone can eventually dig through the various wiki pages and online resources to figure out how these tools work and how to adapt them to their own requirements. But, this is a lot of work, and there are better things for researchers to be spending their time on. Eagle Genomics exists to be the tour guides of the open-source bioinformatics world - we show you where the good stuff is, we have insider knowledge and expert connections you would not be able to easily find yourself, and we help you to make the most of a complicated field by doing all the legwork for you. On top of that, we'll even help you build the systems and analysis pipelines using all these components so that you never have to worry about getting lost whilst looking for that elusive novel SNP (or whilst trying to find a decent cup of tea in Boston...).

Topics: Bioinformatics, Bioinformatics