Whether you publish a problem, or you solve one, the more you
contribute at CodersCrowd the more you learn. We designed metrics that
let you monitor your progress as developer. Technology is moving fast
and as a computational biologist you need to be a fast learner. You
can read books, follow online tutorials or attend conferences, but the
learning curve is not comparable to the one you get from learning by
doing. CodersCrowd let you try and be corrected, no matter the
complexity or the simplicity of your code is, our community will just
bring its expertise to let you know how to things the right way.....
Well, let's see how it works out in practice. I am cautiously optimistic.
The aspect of bioinformatics that is easy to overlook/underestimate is that very few problems/questions are "easy" in the traditional scientific sense - the way many comp-sci/math or physics problems can be "easy" to answer for a well trained person. Most problems in these fields are well defined and there is a long term consensus and evidence backing up answers.
In bioinformatics (and this also applies to statistics) the devil is in the tiniest details and often it takes quite a bit of effort to even understand a problem let alone answer it.
However, I am not sure if I would have enough time to contribute to such a resource. Answering questions in Biostar, on average, doesn't take too much time, so I can do it in the pauses and the dead times. Answering questions in Biostar is a nice practice that doesn't require me too much efforts, specially if I already know the answers.
Improving somebody else's code is a different case. It takes much more time to understand a script, and even more to improve it. I would have to dedicate to this on a week-end, or when I have a much longer pause.
In any case, it is a very nice initiative, which was needed in the scientific community. I will certainly have a look at it, and try to contribute every now and then. I am also sure that I would learn a lot from using it.
Let's see, and meanwhile, good luck to the developers of the initiative!
I wanted to update this thread by news about the new version of CodersCrowd.
CodersCrowd 1.2 will be released with a very exciting feature : Running bioinformatics gists live on the browser !!
Possible applications :
Live code debugging
Being able to reproduce bugs/results
Embark your software into a demo mode instead of writing long description pages
Reimplement algorithms live with coders all over the places
Code on the move !! You can code from your mobile devices from everywhere
Create Interactive Tutorials
Thank you guys for posting about CodersCrowd and please allow me to answer some comments posted here.
@Istvan thank you for your comments. You're right, answering biological problems is a complex process and CodersCrowd is not meant to do that, at least partially. The crowdcoding concept actually is to bring people to code at the same time, working on the same source code, users will see other perspective of code implementation as people are contributing to solve a code that is not working properly using a library or implemented from scratch, or to optimize a source code for scaling purposes to make it more efficient, time, cpu, complexity in mind. This will let people expose their skills as programmers, others to learn from other people skills. The whole put together will let users learn by doing. So CodersCrowd is not placed in a context of Solving Big problems (it will if the task is reasonable) but more in unlocking the crowd know-how to overcome implementation details.
@Giovanni, I am aware of that and that was on taken in consideration.
@George, Yes and Yes :) there is a couple of metrics that are implemented and a public profile page that will evolve dynamically as you use the application.
Thank you all for your comments, please feel free to ask any other information if needed.
This looks really exciting. Will there be a points system similar to Biostars? It would be great if at some time in the future, I could point to my performance on CodersCrowd in a job interview, assuming it takes off.