Algorithms in Bioinformatics

November 20, 2013, 18:00 Coursera Learning Hub

On November 20, the Digital October Center will present the third Learning Hub at its facility, a program presented by the most well-known free online education project in the world: Coursera.

Courserians from Moscow will be able to meet with leading Russian experts in this area and learn from them how to practically apply their new-found knowledge alongside the online course.

To participate in this Learning Hub, first register for the course at

Then fill this Learning Hub application.

Learning Hubs are held at the Digital October Center with the support of Coursera. The dates and times of the lessons may change, though we will inform you in a timely manner of all changes made to the schedule via the participant mailing list.


Sequencing the human genome brought about a revolution in computational biology. However, that was just one of hundreds of biological problems that are already inseparable from the computational methods required to solve them. During this course we will review different ideas from the world of algorithms that are necessary to understand modern biology. Dynamic programming and graph theory will help us understand the algorithms applied in the different areas of biology, from the creation of antibiotics to reconstructing the tree of life. We will apply real algorithms to real genetic data.

We created an interactive textbook especially for this course that will allow you to study and solve problems simultaneously.

About the course

Authors: Pavel Pevzner, Phillip Compeau, Nikolay Vyahhi (University of California, San Diego) Course length: 6 weeks of 60 minute lectures and homework.

Course plan:

  • Every homework assignment will feature 5-10 programming tasks
  • Where DNA replication begins
  • How do we create antibiotics?
  • What DNA patterns play a role in cellular clocks?
  • How do we assemble genomes?
  • Are there parts of the human genome that are more fragile?
  • How do we compare biological sequences?
  • How do we detect the mutations that cause diseases?


Requirements for participants: An understanding of the basics of programming (any language) is required. If you do not know programming languages, you can work with the basic assignments in Rosalind, an online textbook.

To sign up for this Learning Hub, you must first complete at least half of the first homework assignment.

Course curator: Nikolay Vyahhi, course coauthor, visiting researcher, computer science and engineering department, University of California, San Diego, director of the Institute of Bioinformatics in St. Petersburg, director of the bioinformatics master’s program at St. Petersburg Academic University.


119072, Moscow, Bersenevskaya Naberezhnaya, 6, str.3

+7 (495) 003–16–16
+7 (985) 766–19–25