The Quantified Onion is not just another echo chamber

In tandem with the creation of, gizmo_mathboy created a new google group called The Quantified Onion. Both of these web properties are meant to give greater visibility to Perl's role in science, and to spread the word to newcomers that Perl is a great language for scientific computing and data analysis.

It doesn't take long to realize that The Quantified Onion could easily slip into becoming just another room in the Perl echo chamber, a forum-based extension to with a scientific bent. If our goal had been to create a space for Perl scientists to hang out, this might be acceptable. However, I am convinced that Perl needs to get itself out of the lonesome offices and into the halls of academia. We have to grab the interest of undergraduates and graduate students doing science. Heck, I'll even take a postdoc or professor if I can get their attention. How do we achieve this?

We put on workshops for scientists and engineers.

I believe that we need to organize one-day events at institutions of higher learning. The workshops should be free, and they should be entitled something like "Introduction to Perl for Scientists and Engineers." If we can offer free pizza, that'd be even better. The first part would be a basic introduction to Perl; the second part would be a basic introduction to PDL; the third part would be a basic introduction to BioPerl. Or something like that. I'm very open to suggestions.

I am interested in organizing this sort of thing and would be happy to cover the PDL part. I can travel pretty far and wide in the midwest as long as it's on a Saturday. I'll even pay for half of a hotel room. The major missing links are (1) somebody to talk about BioPerl, (2) a good introductory curriculum, (3) enthusiasm and help, and (4) students and/or Perl Mongers at the various institutions willing to organize the room and distribute flyers for the event.

What do you think? Did I miss a major topic in science or engineering? Do you think the Perl Foundation might spring for the cost of pizza? Are you interested in helping out?

Although comments here (at are welcome, I'd particularly appreciate if you could comment at The Quantified Onion.



I was thinking of a short to medium term project would be to put the PDL book into a talk format like you did for Intro to PDL.

Maybe make some screencasts to go along with it.

Maybe that could form a foundation for a PDL workshop/course.

BioPerl, I don't have any experience with. Maybe I can talk with my fellow Perl Mongers that do genomics.

I sort of doubt TPF would be ready to give money for pizza, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong on this.

I like the idea very much, and if you can do this, that would be great.

Another related idea might be to look for scientific events and give talks there and set up Perl booth, where it is much easier to talk to people on on one.

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About David Mertens

user-pic This is my blog about numerical computing with Perl.