Roslin Bioinformatics - Law's Laws

Law's Laws

A series of observations on Genetic Analysis algorithms and experiments

Law's First Law

"The first step in developing a new genetic analysis algorithm is to decide how to make the input data file format different from all pre-existing analysis data file formats."
A prime exemplar of this Law is the use of different codes to signify the sex of animals. For example, crimap uses '0' to represent female and '1' to represent male. The algorithm designed by Keightly et al. uses the same codes to mean the opposite sexes.The Knott & Haley QTL analysis algorithm uses codes '1' and '2'. The list goes on.

Law's Second Law

"Error messages should never be provided"

corollary...

"If error messages are provided, they should be utterly cryptic so as to convey as little information as possible to the end user"
Do you understand crimap's error messages? I thought not.

Law's Third Law

"The number of unique identifiers assigned to an individual is never less than the number of Institutions involved in the study"
... and is frequently many, many more.

Law's Fourth Law

"All scientists agree that sharing data is good and are more than happy to share everyone else's"