As I finish up my poster for CARE SEM SPUR and look at all the colorful graphs I’ve compiled, it’s hard to tell that I’ve run into quite a few problems in the past few weeks. I think I finished off my last blog excited to start a new phase in my project, using a tool called the Read Origin Protocol to profile the immune and microbial components of our unmapped reads. However, after successfully running a script that executed the program on one sample, I tried running the same script on all 32 samples. The next morning, I realized that all 32 jobs had failed, and the program had essentially deleted itself. After waiting a couple of days for one of my mentors to fix the bug, he ended up not knowing what was wrong, and had me re-download the program. Somehow, this worked. This reminds me of a joke I heard from my high school physics teacher: A mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, and a computer engineer go on a road trip. The car breaks down and the mechanical engineer suspects that something is wrong with the engine. The electrical engineer disagrees, and offers to take a look at the electrical system. Finally the computer engineer interrupts and says, “I have a better idea. Let’s all just get out of the car and get back in.” Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only difficulty I ran into. Some problems didn’t have quick and easy solutions, and remain unresolved. Although I still don’t have all the results from ROP yet, it’s exciting to know that there is plenty of analysis to look forward to in the near future!
Here are some photos of moments throughout the summer contrasting from the stressful experience I just described (They also serve as proof that I spent some time away from my computer screen):