29 October, 2008

Book Review: An Introduction To Bioinformatics Algorithms

Disclaimer: I'm no where nearly important enough for anyone to pay me to write this review. I have no conflicting interest in writing this review... unless you clicked on my amazon.com link and bought the book I guees.

So we're using An Introduction to Bioinfomratics (by Jones & Pevzner) in (surprise, surprise!) my bioinformatics class. In 7 years of higher education, this is the first time I can say "this textbook rocks!". Ok, of course it doesn't "rock"; it's a freaking textbook - not Larry Mullen on the "40" solo. Anyhow, it's a good book, and I'd get it if I was you; and I'd also make sure you click on my amazon.com widget there on the right before you purchase it.

Anyhow, let me tell you two things about this book:

  1. Chapter 3 is a brilliant molecular biology primer. I've taken at least 3 semesters of bio and chem classes, and this book explained all of what I learned in those classes brilliantly and concisely (granted, I never got much out of college). In fact, after reading this book I felt like I finally understood molecular biology and could explain it to my grandma (which is harder than you think seeing how she's been dead for like 5 years now).
  2. One thing that annoys me about algorithm books is that they always have lame sample of how the algorithm could be used. Well, not this book my friend! This book begins every chapter with a real molecular biology problem and then applies classic computer science college algorithms to the problems. This is what really makes me learn and understand the algorithms.
Honestly, if you're considering buying an algorithms books, this is one worth looking at. It's not comprehensive in the number of algorithms it covers, but the ones it does cover, it covers well.


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