Where are you from, and what is your role in Extreme 2004?
am a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Computer and Electrical
Engineering, University of Delaware, working with Dr. Gao and
Dr. Cary. This is my first opportunity to participate in a
hydrothermal vent cruise, and I will be primarily responsible
for designing and maintaining a complex informational system
where the research data gathered from the samples and the analysis
is stored. Also, I will be applying various computational techniques
in order to help other scientists test numerous research hypotheses.
What questions are you trying to answer and why?
Today's research, regardless of a particular area of interest, is highly
dependent on the great computational power, advanced algorithms, complex
software and hardware solutions, customized systems, etc. These are the
tools used by the modern scientist throughout the world.
research is based on the common goal to make those tools more
accessible, more user-friendly, and skillfully tailored to
specific needs of the people I am working with. Simply speaking,
I will be their interface to parallel computing, data bases,
data mining, etc.
Why is this research important? What are the benefits?
Grapefruit is a really cool fruit, right? People have come up with
an idea of combining oranges and citruses only to discover this wonderful
new taste. So what in the world this has to do with the two questions
asked above? Well, it does. Imagine picking one cool biologist — a
total lab type of a person on one hand, and a computer scientist on
the other. You can't actually cut them in half and glue them back
together, but what you can do is to train one person to have all the
skills these two have. This person is what today's science refers
to as a bioinformatician — a cool, new, fresh flavor in the modern
scientific society. This research is very important in helping bioinformatician
to experience the real world, to receive some hands-on training, and
to spend some time in the field faced with the true practical problems.
What is your background, and what lured you into marine science/education?
may also ask yourself what this computer geek is doing on board!?
Oh....well, let me tell you my little story.
I'm a native of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia & Montenegro. After receiving
my combined B.Sc./M.S. degree from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University
of Belgrade, I spent some time working for small software companies both in my
country and throughout Europe. After a while, I decided to move on with my career
by applying for a graduate program in the States. Europe seemed too be much like "been
there, seen it...." type of a thing anyway...I really needed something new to happen
in my life. Prior to coming to the University of Delaware, I didn't even know
this state existed! Three years later, I am so much in love with this place!
I had a simple choice put before me upon arrival. I could have worked my way
to a Ph.D. by doing competitive compiler research which involves a lot of programming,
which at that point I was totally sick of, or to join a newly formed Bioinformatics
group. I remembered years and years spent on endless Greek, French, and Montenegrian
beaches during my childhood. I still keep a beautiful sea star found in the Mediterranean
Sea many years ago. Little did I know that the Bioinformatics is just another
way to collaborate with and help the people who share the same passion — the
love for the nature. My Ph.D. adviser, Dr. Guang Gao, had a lot of understanding
and supported me all the way through. Thanks to him, Dr. Cary and other colleagues
I have received something that I could have only dreamed of — an interesting,
challenging and so much diverse research topic.