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Richard reached out to my cofounder and I after reading about Plasmyd on TechCrunch. During our call, he invited us to the Open Science Summit, a conference at the Computer Science Museum the following weekend. Invited by the CEO of a major player in the open access movement? Of course we had to attend.

The morning of the conference, I accidentally left my phone on silent. No alarms rang and any phone calls were left unheard. Compounded with car problems, we missed Richard’s talk. Dejected, we drove back down to Irvine thinking we had missed our opportunity.

Fortunately, a few…


You would have turned 57 today. Everyone on Facebook would have celebrated your birthday. Dad is very obsessed with Facebook now. A lot has happened since you left. I graduated college, I’m vegetarian again, I co-authored a paper in a prestigeous journal, and a friend and I sold a company. I moved to San Francisco, made new friends, and met up with some old ones. It’s too bad you left before I could figure out what “孝順” meant. It’s too bad that you weren’t here to celebrate life with me, but I think you knew I’d be ok.

A few…


Note: This article has been updated after bug fixes were done the day after I reported this on the mailing list. Please refer to the update at the bottom.

A well known method for indexing and retrieval of full text is the suffix tree, otherwise known as a patricia trie or radix trie. Among the many potential applications of the trie and suffix trie/tree they are especially useful in bioinformatics for efficient searching with mismatches. Being in a proteomics lab, suffix tries are a perfect data structure for indexing and searching proteomes today. Desktop computers can be equipped with 32gb…


One of the first things that my current graduate advisor, Steve, emphasized to me before I even joined his lab and the graduate program is that there’s no shame in asking others for help. Of course, it comes with the assumption that you’ve made an effort to attempt the problem already.

Intuitively, it seems like most people who are high achievers don’t need to ask for help since they’re so intelligent that they can figure it out themselves. Asking for help exposes a vulnerability, that you don’t know something and are asking on a pay it forward basis for their…


Two weeks ago (10/15/2012), “What Would Paul Graham Do?” (WWPGD), a site that I developed, made it to the front page on Hacker News. After being posted at approximately 11:00, the site saw 12,783 visits within a 13 hour window. Subsequently, it was covered on TechCrunch and Inc and saw 2,846 vists the next day.

Site Architecture: I Love Heroku

A frequent question that developers, myself included, usually ask regarding a site (if successful) is how it was created. I scraped PG’s essays from his site and queried the HN search api for his comments using a few python scripts. These documents were sanitized and…


Whenever you accomplish a task, you’re the only one that knows how much effort went into completing it. For example, when you develop and deploy a project, no one knows how many late nights you stayed up debugging or how many revisions or refactors that went into producing the result, it’ll get judged solely on the bugs and corner cases that weren’t addressed.

Last quarter, I was a teaching assistant for a biology lab course. In this course, students had to submit publication-like reports on the experiments that were conducted during the past few weeks. To my surprise, the grading…


I love teaching and education. There is a dearth of introductory, well cited pieces, on scientific topics for people who have a basic knowledge of science and want to learn more. Here I present an introductory piece on the biology of cancer with a molecular basis. This article assumes high school level knowledge of biology.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a general term for a broad range of diseases where cell growth is unchecked due to breakage in regulatory mechanisms. [1, 2] This is why diagnosis for some cancers is as simple as feeling for lumps; uncontrolled growth leads to masses in tissues.

Why does this occur?


Yesterday, I attended my Plant Systems Biology class where Professor Yunde Zhao gave a talk on tryptophan-dependent auxin biosynthesis. As expected, I had to wikipedia almost every biomolecule and tissue mentioned due to my lack of plant biology education. However, I didn’t expect Yunde to give a profound and inspiring story about how he came to become successful in the world of research.

He explains that his work on yucca, an Arabidopsis mutant was initially pursued due to ignorance; the work on this mutant had been mostly abandoned due to the difficulty in finding a novel and publishable aspect of…


Steve Jobs’ influence on technology is widespread and probably everlasting. His minimalistic designs and strict standards have been the cornerstone of Apple. However, it wasn’t clear to me what a respected figure he was in the tech world until his passing. His death brought Twitter down and elicited a tribute on the Google homepage. However, the most surprising thing was an entire front page of posts honoring Steve Jobs on Hacker News, a social news site about startups and programming.

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Generally, there is a lot of infighting within the tech community regarding the merit of Apple products; however, it seems…


I rarely visit the movie theater due to outrageous ticket prices. However, since my friend invited me with some free movie vouchers, I eagerly took this chance to see Contagion. While, films are generally rife with scientifically inaccuracies, I was extremely impressed with what I found in Contagion.

Disclaimer: I have no formal training with infectious diseases or epidemiology.

The film does a great job describing the difficulties of vaccine development and science without watering down some scientific terminology. It walks the viewers through the general steps of vaccine development from finding the correct cells to culture the virus, though…

Kevin Wu

I like writing code. I like biology.

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