Genomes on Rails

Location: Portland Ballroom 252 Level: Intermediate
Presentation:: Genomes on Rails Presentation [PDF]
Average rating: ****.
(4.60, 5 ratings)

The Human Genome Project aimed to determine the entire DNA sequence of man: it was completed in 13 years after an international effort and a billion dollar budget. To further our understanding of DNA, genes, proteins and their function, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is building the next generation of high throughput sequencing, using Ruby and Rails.

This talk will cover the infrastructure required to handle multi-petabyte, highly scalable systems and how we’re using Rails to quickly build flexible software to support this effort.

Delivered with Rails guys (rather than biologists), in mind, this talk will include some code examples, some stories and a duck billed platypus:

  • How we’re using Rails: how Rails runs our next gen sequencing pipeline
  • Why we’re using Rails: rapid prototyping is essential in such a fast moving environment
  • Our Rails deployment: Mongrel clusters, legacy Oracle integration and a massive storage array
  • Integrating Rails: weaving together multiple Ruby, Rails and Perl apps using RESTful web services
  • Open source and open data: adding value to data on the web

Perl was instrumental in sequencing the original human genome in 13 years. Learn how Ruby is playing a central role in sequencing another hundred genomes in the next 13 months.

Photo of Matt Wood

Matt Wood

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Matt Wood heads up software development at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where he is responsible for the software that drives the Institute’s world class sequencing facility, along with the next generation of DNA sequencing technology.

Matt’s interests lie in adding value to biological data through scientific software: after completing his PhD, he’s built grid services in Nottingham, web-scale search engines in New York City and genes in Hinxton.

Matt is an advocate of agile development with Scrum, sensible semantics and, of course, the duck billed platypus.

News and Coverage
co-presented by Ruby Central, Inc. O'Reilly
  • Engine Yard
  • Sun Microsystems
  • FiveRuns
  • GotThingsDone
  • Heroku
  • ThoughtWorks
  • Atlantic Dominion Solutions
  • Blue Box Group
  • CodeGear
  • E-xact
  • ELC Technologies
  • EnterpriseDB
  • GemStone Systems
  • Intridea
  • Morph Labs
  • RightScale
  • TechRepublic

Sponsorship Opportunities

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at RailsConf, contact Yvonne Romaine.

Download the RailsConf Sponsor/Exhibitor Prospectus

Media and Promotional Opportunities

Download the Media & Promotional Partner Brochure (PDF) for more information on trade opportunities with O'Reilly conferences, or contact mediapartners@

Program Ideas

Post your suggestions for speakers, topics, and activities on the RailsConf wiki or send an email to

Press and Media

For media-related inquiries, contact

Contact Us

View a complete list of RailsConf 2008 contacts.