During the past August we gave a course as part of the INTERCROSSING Initial Training Network we are part of. The course was titled Cloud Computing and NGS Data Analysis
The audience composition was a mix of Biologists, Mathematicians, Bioinformaticians and Statisticians; we tried to have something for all of them.
We set 3 working groups with a mix of people with different backgrounds, in every group you could find bio and maths/CS guys. We made up these interdisciplinary teams on purpose, we wanted to simulate as much as possible the kind of working environment they could find in real world with its pros and cons like the advantage of being able to learn one from others but also the difficulties of understanding people with completely different background.
From the beginning the students were given a problem to solve: outbreak pathogen identification. And they were asked to design a system to face it. We wanted them to come up with a solution as realistic as possible. We picked a challenging problem with no define solution to enhance their creativity and to make them work hard on something in a similar scenario of real life problems. We were not so interested in a given solution but in how they faced the problem and designed a solution from scratch. We really wanted them to think about a real life problem and we think we got it.
So, we scheduled the talks in a way that the first days they could get some general concepts they would need to face the problem and from then on they also had sessions for team working and asking questions. On Friday each team explained the others their system.
It was a pretty intensive week for them and for us! We had a great time supervising their work and watching from the background how they developed their projects. We hope they enjoyed the course as much as we did!
You can get the slides from the course here