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Lesson 1

Introduction to Perl and CGI Programming using Perl

This module is about Perl and the features that are of particular value to CGI programming.
In this module you will learn:
  1. Why Perl is well suited for Web programming
  2. How to use regular expressions
  3. How to use lists and hashes
  4. How to create and use complex data structures

After you complete this module you will be able to use the features of Perl that are most important to working with Web-based data.
That is not to say that you'll be a wizard with regular expressions or complex aggregate data structures, but you should be able to use them effectively and know where to go for more information if you need it.

Perl and Bioinformatics

Biological data is proliferating rapidly. Public databases such as GenBank and the Protein Data Bank have been growing exponentially for some time now. With the advent of the World Wide Web and fast Internet connections, the data contained in these databases and many special-purpose programs can be accessed quickly, easily, and cheaply from any location in the world. As a consequence, computer-based tools now play an increasingly critical role in the advancement of biological research.
Bioinformatics, a rapidly evolving discipline, is the application of computational tools and techniques to the management and analysis of biological data. The term bioinformatics as defined here makes use of terms such as "computational biology" and Statistics. The use of computers in biology research predates the term bioinformatics by many years. For example, the determination of 3D protein structure from X-ray crystallographic data has long relied on computer analysis. In this course I refer to the use of computers in biological research as bioinformatics. It is important to be aware, however, that others may make different distinctions between the terms. In particular, bioinformatics is often the term used when referring to the data and the techniques used in large-scale sequencing and analysis of entire genomes, such as Arabidopsis, and Homo sapiens.