QUT launches open source lab

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QUT launches open source lab

Hopes to attract high school students.

An open source lab launched this week at Queensland University of Technology aims to target high school students interested in open source software development.

The idea for the lab initially came from two students who were keen for an environment that enabled them to exchange ideas with others interested in open source projects.

The Open Source Software Group and Virtual Lab subsequently gained the support of Microsoft, Red Hat Asia Pacific and Technology One.

QUT Associate Professor Jim Hogan told iTnews the launch had already attracted interest from those wishing to contribute to D3.js, a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data.

Microsoft said the group would take a leading role in the .NET Bio project, an open-source library of common bioinformatics functions that simplifies the creation of life-science applications for the Windows platform.

“Our focus with it is to extend its core capabilities, to make the parses better, to make the pattern searchers better,” Hogan said. "Ultimately .NET Bio aims to improve our collective understanding of the basis for disease."

As genetic sequencing has become cheaper, the volume of data available to manipulate has grown, said Hogan, meaning new methods wre required.

He said he hoped the lab would help to highlight that IT remained an innovative and exciting field to work in.

“What we don’t want people to think is that computing is something where the really exciting stuff has already happened, because that’s never the case in our field. There’s always something new and exciting going on.”

The lab is based in QUT’s $230 million Science and Engineering Centre, which opened in February.

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