Visual Basic Decodes Human Genome

I was reading the entry by Phillip Greenspun that’s been floating around the blogsphere today comparing Java to SUVs. Interesting, but can you figure out what in the following quote caught my eye?

A project done in Java will cost 5 times as much, take twice as long, and be harder to maintain than a project done in a scripting language such as PHP or Perl. People who are serious about getting the job done on time and under budget will use tools such as Visual Basic (controlled all the machines that decoded the human genome). But the programmers and managers using Java will feel good about themselves because they are using a tool that, in theory, has a lot of power for handling problems of tremendous complexity.

VB controlled all the machines that decoded the human genome? I’d never heard that, but there’s at least some evidence on the web that it’s true. (Really, it’s one of those things that’s just "too good to check.") Does that mean we can take downstream credit for all the things we learn from the human genome? "Visual Basic Finds Cure For Cancer?" I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

One thought on “Visual Basic Decodes Human Genome

  1. Jesse Ezell

    The tool use for the majority of genome work is called BLAST and I believe it is written in C. You could never really use VB for that process if you wanted to get anything done, because even when optimized with a substitution matrix, the DNA search process is insanely intensive (it isn’t uncommon to run a query and wait a month for the results).

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