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Scientific data that demands the flexibility of spreadsheets with the integrity of databases

Illustration licensed from Shutterstock colored with AI from Algorithmia

Back in 2018 I was tasked with implementing a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for a genomic sequencing core facility at Weill Cornell Medicine. A LIMS is essentially a database with a few key features:

  • Dynamic Tables: sequencing is a bleeding edge field and it’s not unusual to modify columns and tables every month as new kits and methods are developed
  • Strong Typing: longs, floats, decimals, control over rounding and assigning units of measurement is obligatory for scientific data
  • Validations: sequencing machines are expensive to run — values and dependencies need to be reliably checked and and cross checked
  • Spreadsheet-like…

Simon Johnson

Cloud data distribution ( and no-code databases (

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