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Registration closed July 15.

BCC2020 is online, global, and affordable. The meeting and training are now done, and the CoFest is under way.

The 2020 Bioinformatics Community Conference brings together the Bioinformatics Open Source Conference (BOSC) and the Galaxy Community Conference into a single event featuring training, a meeting, and a CollaborationFest. Events run from July 17 through July 25, and is held in both the eastern and western hemispheres.

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Sunday, July 19 • 10:30 - 11:15
West Keynote 1: How Open Source has Changed the World

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Lincoln Stein, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

This keynote will be presented live.


During the week of March 16, 2020, the Ontario universities of Waterloo, Toronto, and McMaster closed their campuses due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Just a few days later, a small group of students who suddenly found themselves with lots of free time mounted a web site called flatten.ca to collect self-reported symptoms from individuals with COVID-19 and to display the distribution of cases across the country. On the first day it opened, flatten.ca had about 300 visitors. Within two weeks this number had swelled to 337,000 and continues to grow. The system is now used by public health authorities across the country, has been adopted by the City of Montreal as its official COVID-19 tracking system, and has spawned similar sites in locales as far away as Somalia. The students did not need to write a research grant proposal, apply to a health data registry for access, seek REB approval, or obtain software licenses. They perceived an urgent need, applied open source tools and methodologies, and built a fully functional system in record time, well ahead of the "professionals" in academia and industry.

This is the world that the pioneers of Open Source envisioned. One in which a passionate community of individuals can turn an idea into reality with a few keystrokes by building on top of a large set of unencumbered high quality tools, techniques and datasets.

However, it doesn't always go this way. In biomedical research we continue to be encumbered by antiquated protocols for accessing health data, stymied by published descriptions of computational protocols that are faulty or incomplete, impeded by the logistics of moving large data sets around, and blindered by restrictive data usage conditions that discourage the creative integration of diverse datasets. In this talk, I will look back over the progress we have made, and then look forward to the new paradigms for code and data sharing that promise to make success stories like flatten.ca the rule rather than the exception.

This keynote will be introduced by Nomi Harris.

avatar for Lincoln Stein

Lincoln Stein

Lincoln Stein focuses on supporting biomedical research both in Ontario and around the world by making large and complex biological datasets findable, accessible and usable.Prior to joining OICR in 2006, Dr. Stein played an integral role in many large-scale data initiatives at Co... Read More →

Sunday July 19, 2020 10:30 - 11:15 EDT