How to Puzzle Biologists in Your Talk

January 3, 2017

An incomplete how-to on casting confusion and frustration on your audience.

Sympathy and empathy between computer scientists and biologists cracks down the wall between the disciplines. Still, many talks celebrate the differences and are another brick in said wall.

Here I summarize observations on how to efficiently disconnect biologists from your computer science talks:

  • Speak a technical computer science language
  • Abstract problems as much as possible
  • Explain algorithms instead of problems they solve
  • Explain as many algorithms as possible
  • Same for file formats: refer to them instead of the information they contain
  • Go into details of said algorithms, especially on how they perform
  • Do not spare on memory usage information
  • Tell people in which language tools are written in (Biologists are very religious with programming languages)
  • Everybody should use <insert random programming language here>
  • Jump a lot between analysis steps and make them as abstract as possible
  • Avoid examples, they benefit only beginners and the stupid
  • Scare people from programming on their own because of all the things they can do wrong
  • Jump between problems quickly
  • Try not to make yourself obsolete

When you craft the talk, always ask yourself: How can I widen the gap between the sciences and how can I disconnect myself from the audiences reality?

Feel free to add suggestions in the comments.

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