Question: Discrete Mathematics And Computational Biology.
2
Burlappsack660 wrote:

Hello, I graduated a year ago with a B.S. degree in biological science. I've taken some basic computer sciences courses on the introductory level, and have found myself working in a computational biology lab.

Right now, I have the chance to take discrete mathematics as a night course. From what I understand this will help me understand biological algorithms much better. Is this a good idea, to take discrete math, if I want to gain further insight into biological algorithms?

Also, what are some books that I can directly translate my new found knowledge of discrete mathematics into the understanding of biological algorithms? Will I be able to do this without take an analysis of algorithms course, per se?

written 8.4 years ago by Burlappsack660
1

What area of computational biology are you working in? You may be better taking off taking a course on data structures and algorithms.

I'm working on a structural biology project right now. My institution doesn't have undergrads, so I need to go elsewhere for the courses. The only data structures course nearby was canceled. I am taking discrete math with the purpose of someday taking analysis of algorithms as well as data structures, if its offered!

3
Bilouweb1.1k wrote:

During my phd, I used discrete mathematics to solve a variation around the Protein threading problem (link). Discrete maths are linked to graph theory, and complexity analysis which are basis for algorithm analysis.

So I think it is a good course if you want to learn more on algorithms.

If you don't know it, the book Algorithms from Dasgupta is really good.

3
Alf450 wrote:

Graph theory is indeed an important application of discrete math to biology. As you may know, there is a lot of effort in research related to protein-protein interaction networks which, in the end, are graphs.

Coding theory (present in some discrete math courses) is useful to understand the concepts of entropy, mutual information, etc.

Combinatorics could be useful if you deal with some enumeration...

Other topics as logic, set theory, modulo arithmetics, etc. can be interesting but not directly applicable to computational biology. Indeed, knowing that mathematical language (mainly set theory) could help you understand the mathematical basis of some more-theoretical papers.

In my opinion, is very interesting to have discrete math. Graph theory is very valuable.

If you want a good book (in my opinion) in the subject the Grimaldi may be a good option http://www.amazon.com/Discrete-Combinatorial-Mathematics-Applied-Introduction/dp/0201726343

2
Woa2.7k wrote:

Discrete Optimization would be a very good thing to study. It has lots and lots of application in bioinformatics

2
Russh1.2k wrote:

Dicrete maths is really pretty, I read up quite a bit on graph theory etc when I started network biology. Cool stuff. Oh and don't get me started on algebra, he gushed.

I think that 'Introduction to computational biology' by Waterman highlights some connections to bioinformatics (it's all sequence analysis and the book is written for math students who are entering bioinfx).

If you've got a chance to do a course in discrete maths, you should totally do it. Then one in algebra, coding, ODE systems, stochastics....

All the best, R