Cancer: From Biology to Computer Science

October is the breast cancer awareness month. Cancer is classified as a genetic disease caused by the abnormal cell division that destroy body tissue. Wait! Cell? Body tissue? Disease? So now you might be wondering: what does this have to do with computers?

In fact, cancer research has been in the heart of life sciences for the past few decades. Since genetics play an important role in most cancers, computational methods are crucial in understanding the development of the disease as well as predicting the results of clinical trials for treatment. That’s where computer science comes into action.

Biological background

Before we define the computational problem, let’s review some biology from high school and learn some facts about cancer.

Our human body consists of trillions of cells. Although each cell has the exact same DNA all over your body, every cell carries out its own function. The DNA is a long sequence of nucleotides preserved inside a cell nucleus.


Photo adapted from: The Fatal Lover, Mata Hari (2016) watch online 1080

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CHI PLAY 2016 – Day 3

The third day at CHI PLAY 2016 ended the conference with important discussions focused on play, design, and the games industry. If you have not seen them yet, check the first and second day summaries out before continuing!

The day opened with an open discussion of future suggestions for the conference series and followed with the first Industry Panel, which counted with the expertise of Toni Phillips (Triseum), Sheri Graner Ray (Zombie Cat Studios), and Yelena Balin (b.well). The panelists addressed some of the challenges of the game industry, such as keeping up with the technology, innovating, engaging different audiences, and building diversity into games.

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CHI PLAY 2016 – Day 2

The second day at CHI PLAY had a lot of fun and important research! In case you’ve missed it, read about the first day before continuing.

Annika Waern presented the keynote of the day on Play, Participation and Empowerment, and left everyone reflecting about the opportunities that arise when designers let the players co-create the game rules and boundaries. It was followed by David Cohen‘s talk on Transformation Through Transparency, in which he emphasized the importance of collaboration between educators and game designers for building educational games, as well as the importance of embedding learning in a transparent way to allow players to enjoy playing and increase learning effectiveness.

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CHI PLAY 2016 – Day 1

CHI PLAY is ACM’s international conference on human-computer interaction in play and games. This year, it is being held in Austin, Texas, from the 17th to 18th of October. I’ll be covering some of the spotlights of the conference daily here at the ACM XRDS blog!

After the official welcome, the first day opened with a keynote talk by Jamie Madigan from The Psychology of Video Games. It was a great talk filled with 30 research ideas for game and HCI scholars to investigate in the near future.

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Positive Computing: a novel research field to promote human wellbeing

Technology has undoubtedly improved at vertiginous speeds in the last decades. However, there is no evidence that all this technology is helping increase the people’s general wellbeing. Calvo and Peters have attributed this to the fact that most technology professionals keep a machine-focused view of their work, avoiding to look at anything related to the user’s’ wellbeing. Nevertheless, recently there has been a growing body of efforts related to using technology to improve human wellbeing. Calvo and Peters refer to this new research field as Positive Computing.

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