The amount of molecular data available in various data banks has exploded in recent years thanks to many completed and ongoing genome sequencing projects and due to many genome and proteome scale analyses. The number of programs used to analyze these data has increased with nearly equal speed.
The ability to handle large amounts of data has become a daily routine for many biologists; however, web based servers often are slow and cumbersome to use for repetitive tasks. Simple scripting tools provide an easy way for biologists to adapt programs to the tasks they want to perform. Perl is a computer language popular among biologists and bioinformaticians because it is easy to learn and allows to parse the complicated output of other programs. This course will not turn biologists into computer scientists, rather it will enable biologists to use computational tools more effectively.