Closures, alternatives, map in Perl 6

In a script I recently wrote, I employed a few features of Perl 6 that I'd like to highlight. I'm using Mash to create a distance matrix of samples (usually metagenomes or genomes) to each other, either in a complete pair-wise fashion or some set (like the Pacific Ocean Virome) to some new set of samples.

The output of Mash is a tab-delimited file. The first line contains the column headers, and the first co…

The MAIN Thing

If you're coming to Perl 6 from Perl 5, the global variable @*ARGS will be familiar to you as the place to get the command-line arguments to your program:

$ cat main1.pl6
#!/usr/bin/env perl6

put "ARGS = ", @*ARGS.join(', ');
$ ./main1.pl6 foo bar baz
ARGS = foo, bar, baz

The @ is the sigil that denotes the variable as an array, and the * is the "twigle" that denotes that the variable is a glo…

Backticks and tests in Perl 6

Perl was created for systems administration, and Perl 6 has all the chops you've come to expect from the brand. Here I needed to use MD5 checksums from my collaborator to verify that I downloaded all their data without errors. Each data "$file" has an accompanying "$file.md5" that looks like this:

$ cat HOT232_1_0770m/prodigal.gff.md5
a36e4adfaa62cc4adb8cea44c4f7825f  HOT232_1_0770m/prodigal.gff

So I need to read the contents of this file, get just the first field, then execute my local "md5" (or "md5sum") program on the file without the ".md5" extension and determine …

Movie file reader

Last night I finally got to see The Martian. It was a fun movie, and it seems much of the science was solid. One thing that filmmakers still like to do is have computers spit out messages one-character-at-a-time as if they were arriving like telegrams. If you would like to read a file like this, I present the movie-file-reader. First, my very long-hand version:

#!/usr/bin/env perl6

sub MAIN (Str $file) {
    for $file.IO.lines(:chomp(False)) -> $line {
        for $line.comb -> $letter {
            print $letter;
            my $pause = do given $letter {

Finding cheaters with k-mers

This semester I'm teaching Perl 6 to beginners. On a recent homework, student A came to see me for help, so I pretty much wrote the script (if you come for help, you get help!). With every assignment, I provide a "test.pl6" script that lets the students know if they will pass. I stress that they don't need to code for edge cases -- just look to pass the test suite. Well, two students, B and C, copied student A, changed a variable name, and submitted.

If I had only checked for passing tests, I wouldn't have noticed, but I like to see how different students try to solve the problem…

About Ken Youens-Clark

user-pic I work for Dr. Bonnie Hurwitz at the University of Arizona where I use Perl quite a bit in bioinformatics and metagenomics. I am also trying to write a book at Comments welcome.