Expanding a bit from what was posted yesterday on the Bioinformatics investment topic, the main investment we need to make is in personnel, courses. Is not admissible that in 2010 a graduate student doesn’t know some simple (I mean the really, really, really simple) Excel function/macro functionality. It doesn’t matter if the student is in a bioinfo/computational biology stream or not (it would be worse, then) or any other stream, this is basic stuff that most of the advanced students should know.
We have to forget apologies, such as “I don’t like computers”, “I’m not good with machines”, etc. These are present and future scientists, the top of the top students, they should know basic computer usage and management. I don’t want them at graduate school to be able to modify a makefile and compile some obscure boost-related library on Solaris, just use a “=IF A1=0, nothing, yes” in Excel. If we don’t teach them in the future I will still receive FASTA sequences in Word docs, and coloured tables in Excel. These are the best mind out there, they should devote maybe 5% of their time for these things, it’s not just beneficial for me but for them and for science in general too.
I don’t know where are the mistakes, the failures, what we can do, but we need to do something. And to do something we need money, and not a lot of it.