biotorrents is born
I just posted my first biotorrent to biotorrents.net the other day. What is biotorrents, you ask? As the name suggests, it’s a BitTorrent tracker site for tracking biological datasets. cool, huh?
Last year when I was working at a research institute in australia, I found that whenever I needed to download a new version of the NCBI databases I would have to get them from NCBI’s ftp site in the USA. That may work well enough for people located stateside, but the transpacific pipes do not seem to treat blast databases as priority electrons (photons, whatev). Usually after a few days and several dropped TCP connections I would finally have the whole enchilada. Not pleasant, but with a little persistence it was possible.
Enter biotorrents. Now I can fire up my favorite bittorrent client and download the NCBI database from any of a number of globally distributed seeders, which should work much faster. That’s the dream anyway. In reality biotorrents is in early days and we need people to contribute bandwidth to the effort by seeding things like the NCBI databases. Ideally, our great leaders at NCBI, EBI, and elsewhere would take the initiative and contribute by seeding their own databases. David Lipman and Ewan Birney if you’re listening, consider this a public challenge!!