4273π: bioinformatics education on low cost ARM hardware

Daniel Barker, David Ellard Keith Ferrier, Peter W.H. Holland, John B. O. Mitchell, Heleen Plaisier, Michael Gordon Ritchie, Steven D. Smart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Teaching bioinformatics at universities is complicated by typical computer classroom settings. As well as running software locally and online, students should gain experience of systems administration. For a future
career in biology or bioinformatics, the installation of software is a useful skill. We propose that this may be taught by running the course on GNU/Linux running on inexpensive Raspberry Pi computer hardware, for which students
may be granted full administrator access. Results: We release 4273π, an operating system image for Raspberry Pi based on Raspbian Linux. This includes minor customisations for classroom use and includes our Open Access bioinformatics course, 4273π Bioinformatics for Biologists. This is based on the final-year undergraduate module BL4273, run on Raspberry Pi computers at the University of St Andrews, Semester 1, academic year 2012–2013. Conclusions: 4273π is a means to teach bioinformatics, including systems administration tasks, to undergraduates at low cost.

Original languageEnglish
Article number243
Number of pages6
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Volume14
Early online date12 Aug 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2013

Keywords

  • Bioinformatics education
  • Teaching material
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Linux

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